Team Seattle’s first event of the year was nearly cancelled due to a surprise winter storm that blanketed the Seattle region with inches of snow. Thankfully 6 members were able to make it out for the event, and with the help of the amazing crew at Virtual Sports Northwest, the team’s first Respawn event went off without a hitch. With Virtual Sports donating all twelve of their VR booths for over two hours, the team was able to provide soldiers from the Warrior Transition Battalion’s Adaptive Sports Program with a unique and fun experience that culminated in a Longbow VR competition.
With a goal of providing Adaptive Sports participants with supplemental sports and activities when physical injuries or inclement weather pose limitations, soldiers were introduced to the HTC Vive system, then given activities suited to their personal physical capabilities. Hosting 10 soldiers, some with physical limitations that prevent them from enjoying archery in the real world, Virtual Sports staff helped ensure that every soldier was able to participate in the archery based competition. The results were overwhelmingly positive, as every soldier enjoyed the experience and many expressed interest in attending future events. One SFC attendee, whose combat related injuries now demand the use of a cane, noted that he would recommend the events to any soldier recovering from injury. That same SFC went on to win the Longbow competition, perfectly illustrating how VR can be tailored to provide an equally satisfying experience for nearly anyone.
The event was such a success that future events are already being planned. Along with providing new sports like golf, football, and baseball, the team hopes to provide unique experiences tailored specifically to suit soldiers and veterans with physical limitations. Speaking of the event, Veteran Team Lead Chance Mcpheron said “We’re already seeing the physical therapy benefits of VR, and we’re going to pursue that extensively, but the benefit seems only limited to your imagination. We saw tonight that VR can be suited to a broad spectrum of users, including those with physical limitations. If you’re a soldier who can’t enjoy your favorite activity because of injuries, we want to give you that experience through VR.”
With support from Virtual Sports Northwest, and an amazing relationship with the Warrior Transition Battalion, Team Seattle plans on exploring the full benefits virtual reality can provide to the soldiers and veterans in the Seattle area. This is just another great example of how our OSD teams work with local partners to provide a unique impact to their community.