The Donate Life Transplant Games of America is a multi-sport festival event produced by the Transplant Games of America for individuals who have undergone life-saving transplant surgeries. Competition events are open to living donors, organ transplant recipients, bone marrow recipients, corneal and tissue transplant recipients. More than an athletic event, the Donate Life Transplant Games of America highlight the critical importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation, while celebrating the lives of organ donors and recipients.
What is the Mission Statement of the Transplant Games of America?
To increase awareness of the life-saving importance of organ, cornea, bone marrow, and tissue donation through the lives of the athlete-recipients and the lasting legacy of their donors.
To involve the entire transplant community – healthcare providers, recipients, donors, donor families, individuals awaiting transplantation, recovery agencies, and other related organizations – in a shared mission to highlight the benefits of donation.
To increase the number of individuals registering as donor candidates, state-by-state, and nationally by supporting existing campaigns, and harnessing the energy and drive of recipients through the Donate Life Transplant Games events, partnerships, marketing and related communications.
What are the games?
The games are a multi-sport festival event to help promote the need for Organ & Tissue donation. The purpose is to show the world that transplantation saves and enhances lives every day.
Why do the games exist?
The games started as a way to get the word out about the important need for organ and tissue donation and that is our goal today. Over the years it has grown into an event that brings transplant and donor families together. As a Donor Family you may not meet the person that has your loved one’s organ, but you may get a chance to see how your donation has changed someone else’s life. As a transplant recipient you get to show the world that having a transplant is truly a second chance at life.
Some organ donation statistics and proof of why our job isn’t finished **
Currently the following United States residents are waiting for organs:
Source: OPTN (Organ Procurement & Transplantation Network managed by the Health Resources & Services Administration, US Department of Health & Human Services (HRSA), July 2019
What events will be held during the games?
Medaling events include:
• 5K run (open to the public)
• Ballroom Dancing
• Bocce Ball
• Cornhole (Bean Bag Toss)
• Junior Olympiad
• Poker (Texas Hold’em)
• Table Tennis
• Track & Field
Tentative special events include:
• Closing Ceremony & Farewell Reception
• Coffee House
• Donor Family BBQ
• Donor-Recipient Bowling
• Donor Tribute Ceremony
• Opening Ceremony
• Quarter Century Club Dinner
• Quilt Pinning Ceremony
• Welcome Reception
• Workshops & Seminars
Who can participate in the games?
Anyone can participate in the games REGARDLESS of where you live. This means international participants can participate if they wish. If you are both a transplant recipient and team leader you are welcome to participate as well! To participate as an athlete you must meet the following* requirements:
• Have received a life-saving transplant (regardless if you are taking anti-rejection meds or not)
• Transplant has occurred at least 9 months prior to the start of the games
• You are in healthy condition
• Your doctor has signed a medical waiver allowing you to participate
• You have signed a form stating that you meet all the above requirements
Note: Both living donors and donor families can participate!
*Participation terms subject to change.
Are living donors and donor families welcome at the TGA?
Yes, absolutely! Living donors will be eligible to compete in all individual sports offered (check each sport page for further clarification). Also, a special recognition of donor families will take place as part of our special event programming! More information will be available shortly.
What is the difference between a sport and an event?
Athletes can participate in up to 4 individual sports, not including the team sports (basketball and volleyball). Athletes can participate in as many events within an individual sport as they want. For example, an athlete can sign up for the sport Swimming and the event’s 100 freestyle, 50 backstroke, 50 butterfly and 200 individual medley. Those are all events within the sport Swimming. This athlete would still have three other individual sports to choose from.
Are there age divisions?
Athletes will compete by gender in the following age groups: 14-17, 18–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59, 60–69, and 70+. Children under 14 years of age will compete in designated children’s events in the following age groups: 5 and under, 6-10, and 11-13. Age on the day of the Opening Ceremony will apply.
Volleyball, 3-on-3 basketball, relay events in track and swimming and the mixed doubles events will be an open age category—i.e., no age classifications. All other events are age categorized. In doubles events that are age-categorized, if the members of a pair are in different age groups, the pair will be classified in the younger age group. If one of the players is under 18, the pair will play in the adult category.