Warrior Games Help Injured Soldier Cope with Daily Challenges
May 10, 2013
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Challenges, regardless of their source, are a constant part of our lives, and the ability to overcome them is a special talent that few people possess, and at which even fewer excel.
One of those select few who know all about overcoming challenges is Army Spc. Quinton Picone, a 23-year-old infantryman, assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He is one of nearly 200 wounded, injured or ill service members training here for the upcoming 4th annual Warrior Games which are scheduled to begin May 11.
The Warrior Games is a competition that showcases former and current Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen's abilities in seven different events including: archery, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, and track and field events. This year a team from the United Kingdom will also be competing for the first time.
Picone's journey to the games began nearly two years ago, and during that time, he has had to overcome physical and mental challenges that could easily break the will of most.
In late November 2011 while serving as an active-duty infantryman in Afghanistan, he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device. Although he survived the explosion, it left him with both legs amputated and injuries to his right hand.
"That day changed me as a person," Picone said. "It really made me upset, but eventually I figured out that I can still do a lot of things that I did before my injuries, I just have to do them differently now."
Picone admits that to get where he is today took a lot of support along the way. "There are several things that have helped me get through the tough times," he said. "The support of my family and friends really made a difference for me, they have helped me to get back out there and feel normal again. The people I have met during my recovery process have also been very supportive."
One of those who has helped Picone cope along the way is a friend of his who is also recovering from extensive injuries at the WTU. "My buddy is a big inspiration to me," he said. "He is a lot worse off than me, but he has a great attitude, he is a lot of fun to be around and most of all he does not let his injuries hold him back."
Picone is not holding anything back either when it comes to competing in the Warrior Games this year. He is competing in three of the seven events: swimming, field and sitting volleyball, and he is earning the respect of his teammates along the way.
"He is a quiet professional, but he is very aggressive once he sets a goal for himself," said Lt. Col. Daniel Dudek, the deputy chief of staff for the Warrior Transition Command and a teammate of Picones. "He doesn't talk a lot, but when he does I listen to what he has to say."
Picone does seem to have a quiet and reserved nature, but is willing to give some advice to those who may face challenges of their own. "Things may seem bad, but trust me it can always be worse," he said. "Be thankful for what you have and never give up. Make the best of the situation you can and know that you are strong enough to get through it."