200 wounded veterans to compete in Warrior Games
January 8, 2010
ARLINGTON, Va. — Two hundred wounded servicemembers and veterans will compete in the first ever Warrior Games from May 10-14 in Colorado Springs, Colo., officials said Thursday.
Events include track and field, swimming, shooting and archery, said Army Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek, commander of Army Warrior Transition Command.
“What we have to do with our servicemembers is inspire them to reach for and achieve a rich and productive future, to defeat their illness or injury, whatever lies in the way, to maximize their abilities and know that they can have a rich and fulfilling life beyond what has happened to them in service to their nation,” Cheek said.
One hundred athletes will be active-duty soldiers, coming from a pool of about 8,900 wounded warriors, Cheek said on Thursday. The Marine Corps will have 50 athletes, and the Navy and Air Force will each have 25.
Because the Marine Corps has a much smaller population of wounded warriors than does the Army, it is reaching out to former Marines who have been awarded the Purple Heart, said Col. Greg Boyle, commander of the Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment.
The competition is open to servicemembers and veterans with bodily injuries as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, according to an Army news release.
John Register, an Army veteran and two-time paralympian, said he found “liberation” in faith, family and sports after his left leg was amputated following a sport accident.
He recounted how one servicemember who lost both his legs was so inspired by seeing paralympians that he “engaged in life again.”
“We have a choice in which we can move forward,” he said. “We can either choose to settle into our setbacks or we can soar forward knowing that we have those support networks and support groups around us that can help us get to and get back to those active lifestyles that we once enjoyed before we were injured.”