This year’s DoD Warrior Games have been canceled because of concerns about the surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant.

The games feature hundreds of elite athletes, including athletes from international allied nations, in an annual competition of wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans in 12 adaptive sports. They were scheduled for Sept. 12-22, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

This would have been the 11th anniversary of the annual competition.

“It’s unfortunate we are unable to hold the games, but our first priority must be the health and welfare of everyone involved,” said Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, in an announcement Tuesday of the decision to cancel the games.

As executive agent for the DoD Warrior Games this year, Wormuth consulted with senior Army leaders, medical professionals and others, according to the announcement, which came just a month before the scheduled games.

In 2020, the Marine Corps, the designated host for that year’s games, also canceled the event because of COVID-19.

“The entire DoD understands the importance of the Warrior Games to the athletes and their families, as part of their recovery process, which makes this decision even more difficult,” Wormuth stated, thanking the athletes, staff personnel and others for their hard work preparing for the games. “The games are an important event for the DoD community. We look forward to resuming them next year if public health conditions permit.”

The adaptive sports events include sitting volleyball, powerlifting, cycling, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, golf, precision air sports, swimming, indoor rowing, archery and track and field.

The Warrior Games, first held in 2010, have a mission to show the potential of wounded warriors through competitive sports, celebrate their resilience and dedication, and enhance their recovery and rehabilitation.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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