How AIG supports athletes of all abilities
Through AIG’s longtime partnership, Move United can help athletes like Josh Elliott rediscover their love of sports.
Josh Elliott’s life changed forever on April 18, 2011. As a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, Josh was serving as a combat engineer in Sangin, Afghanistan when he suffered extensive injuries, leading to amputations above both knees and the loss of three fingers on his left hand.
As his body healed, Josh struggled with the emotional aspects of moving forward with his physical challenges.
A recreational therapist introduced Josh to Move United, an AIG partner that has long provided sports training, education, and adaptive equipment to individuals regardless of ability.
For the past 16 years, AIG has brought the insurance industry together to raise funds and support Move United and participants like Josh in their long and often complicated road to recovery as well as their athletic aspirations.
“It’s powerful when an industry comes together to support a tremendous cause,” says Ken Riegler, head of AIG’s North America Retail team and longtime supporter of Move United. “AIG is honored to work with Move United and grateful to be part of the important work they do and the difference they make.”
Once Josh fully recovered, he took part in a Move United event in Colorado. There, he was introduced to adaptive skiing techniques and equipment like the monoski, also known as a sit ski, often used by wheelchair-bound skiers in downhill and para-alpine skiing.
“I wanted to snowboard, which I had previously enjoyed, but learned I couldn't do things the same way as before my injuries,” Josh recalls. “Trainers at Move United helped me learn how to use a monoski, and soon I was back to racing down the mountain, just using different equipment.”
Josh spent the next seven years working toward a new goal: representing the U.S. at the 2018 Paralympics in Pyongyang, South Korea, where he placed sixth in the world in the super combined event.
“Move United and AIG made that goal something I could realistically pursue,” Josh says.
Since 2007, AIG has raised more than $9.5 million for Move United through fundraising and direct donations. AIG colleagues have also shown their support by donating their time through the company’s Volunteer Time Off program.
The AIG Winter Summit, held annually in Stowe, Vermont, brings together broker partners and clients to discuss risk management and other insurance industry trends. Meanwhile, AIG uses the event to unite the industry in support of Move United, by hosting a race camp with instructors and coaches helping athletes of all abilities improve their skills.
This partnership helps Move United provide adaptive sports opportunities, train instructors and purchase adaptive sports equipment for participants across 215 community member organizations throughout the nation, spanning more than 70 different adaptive sports.
Moreover, AIG has supported Move United as it expanded its network of local adaptive sports organizations and develop youth athletic clinics across U.S. schools. By 2028 when Los Angeles is expected to host the Summer Paralympics, Move United aims to have 90% of people in the U.S. living within a 50-mile drive of a Move United location.
“I've had such an incredible experience—I underwent a lot of growth, not only in my professional skiing, but in my personal life,” says Josh, who is now a Move United ambassador coaching up-and-coming athletes with disabilities.
“My journey as an athlete, a Paralympian, and now a coach and ambassador wouldn't have been possible without the continued support of organizations like Move United and AIG.”
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