National disabled veterans sports event canceled in Colorado

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ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic held in Colorado was canceled amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said in a statement that its decision to cancel the five-day clinic in Snowmass was out of “an abundance of caution,” the Aspen Times reported.

The cancellation was a result of coronavirus fears, department communications director Rob Lewis confirmed, adding that he believes it stems from the idea of hosting veterans who have illnesses or injuries that could make them more susceptible.

The annual winter sports clinic, which was scheduled to start March 29, has provided adaptive recreation and rehabilitation experiences for more than 400 veterans in Aspen-Snowmass for about 30 years.

The event co-sponsored by the VA and Disabled American Veterans features multiple activities including skiing, rock climbing, snowmobiling, scuba diving and sled hockey.

Eight people in Colorado were being kept in isolation on Friday after testing positive for the disease, marking the state’s first cases in the global outbreak.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis announced the first two cases Thursday citing a man in his 30s who visited the state on a ski vacation and an older woman who recently went on an international cruise.

Some people have expressed their disappointment in the cancellation of the winter sports clinic, but a number of volunteers, participants and business owners understood the decision.

“This was a huge piece of our March and April business, but in the grand scheme of things, we understand why the decision was made,” said Jeffery Burrell, complex general manager of both the Westin Snowmass Resort and Wildwood Snowmass Hotel. “It’s more about taking care of people than worrying about financials.”

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