Athlete Feature – Saboor Aziz
“When I see that smile on other veterans, especially combat vets, who have been through severe trauma, and I see their inner happiness show through, it’s just amazing,” said Saboor Aziz, a skier at Ignite Adaptive Sports in the Veterans Program.
Saboor suffered a spinal cord injury from an explosion in Afghanistan in 2011. “When I got out of active duty in 2013, I moved to Denver. The isolation became overwhelming.” Aziz shares. “It’s difficult going from military life to civilian life. You become stuck in your routine and confined to your space. When I found out about this program through the VA, I was extremely fearful of my disability. I was worried it would make the spinal cord injury worse.”
After his VA Recreational Therapist recommended Ignite, Aziz fell in love with skiing. “When you have something to look forward to, it fills you with positive energy, and breaks your confining everyday routine.”
Aziz tries not to let his disability set the limits. “If you work around your disability, you don’t have to set limits. You can do other activities while making sure you don’t worsen your condition.”
In 2018 Ignite’s Veterans Program provided nearly 400 lessons to 82 disabled vets. Through donations and grants, they offer this program for free. When asked if he will continue to ski, Aziz replied “Absolutely! As long as I can, and as long as time will allow me.”