The Freedom Rows programme for disabled US Armed Forces veterans has received a $475,000 grant this year ©USRowing

USRowing will receive an Adaptive Sports Grant of $475,000 (£430,000/€490,000) this year to support its Freedom Rows programmes for disabled veterans and armed forces personnel throughout the United States.

It is the ninth consecutive year that this sporting support for US veterans has been provided by the US Department of Veteran Affairs.

USRowing's national programme is dedicated to changing lives for veterans with disabilities and members of the armed forces, and Freedom Rows has been awarded grants of more than $3 million (£2.7million/€3.09million) since its inception in 2014.

Freedom Rows has grown from six programmes in its first year to more than 33 programmes serving an average of 1,000 veterans each year.

This year's grant will allow USRowing to further expand the Freedom Rows programme.

"We are coming back stronger than ever," said Deb Arenberg, the USRowing adaptive programs associate and Freedom Rows coordinator.

"The worldwide pandemic hit our rowing programming especially hard, including our most vulnerable populations like our injured veterans and rowers with disabilities.

"As we enter our ninth year, Freedom Rows has a proven track record of providing veterans with the opportunity to improve their physical and mental well-being, and we will continue to provide the best programming possible to meet the goals of every veteran with whom we work."

The Adaptive Sports Grant Programme funding allows athletes to participate in physical activity within their home communities, as well as more advanced Paralympic and adaptive sports programmes at the regional and national levels.

Freedom Rows has been awarded grants of more than $3 million since its inception in 2014 ©USRowing
Freedom Rows has been awarded grants of more than $3 million since its inception in 2014 ©USRowing

"We are excited to continue our partnership with the VA again this year," USRowing executive officer Amanda Kraus added.

"Veterans who row tell us how much rowing means to them - the freedom of being outside and on the water; the impact of their strong relationships with their coaches and teammates; the thrill of competing; the joy of winning; the confidence from training hard.

"These are not unique experiences in our sport.

"But being able to provide a meaningful experience to veterans who have been through so much and done so much for our country, that is very special."

New Freedom Rows programmes include Otsego Area Rowing in Cooperstown, New York; Three Rivers Rowing Association in Pittsburgh and Watuppa Rowing Center, Fall River, Massachusetts.

Participants in Freedom Rows programmes have reached the elite level, with more athletes expected to compete in events including The Head of The Charles Regatta, San Diego Crew Classic and the USRowing Indoor National Championship.

One Freedom Rows athlete - Russell Gernaat from Lake Casitas Rowing Club in California - competed at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and has raced at multiple World Championships, including the one held this year.