Paralympic champion works with wounded warriors
June 26, 2009
- Scott Winkler, Paralympic Gold Medalist, was paralyzed in Iraq, but teaches a fitness class to wounded warriors
- Champions Made From Adversity works with Fort Gordon's Warrior Transition Battalion twice a week
- "I've got my limbs, and I feel sorry for myself," said SFC Edward Jackson. "He goes through the gym like he has legs."
Several times while instructing the first part of his workout class, Scott Winkler asked members if they could feel the burn yet.
His class responded with groans which got louder as class progressed.
"Pain does not exist in my vocabulary. I'm going to do this until I feel it in my legs and abs," said Winkler, a Marine Corps veteran who was paralyzed from the waist down in Iraq but went on to win a gold and bronze in the Paralympic Games in 2007.
Winkler is a member of the organization Champions Made From Adversity and works with members of Fort Gordon's Warrior Transition Battalion twice a week at the Fort Gordon Fitness Center teaching a core fitness class combined with weight training and cardiovascular exercises.
The fitness program capitalizes on military partnerships with U.S. Paralympics and CMFA, said Judie Thompson, occupational therapist with the WTBs. Winkler has been teaching the class since early May.
The program is adapted to accommodate any physical problems the Soldiers have.
"Soldiers are used to working out. Then they get injured and can't do it," said Thompson.
Winkler said he likes being around the Soldiers and has a sense of camaraderie with them even though he served in the Marine Corps. A fitness program can benefit them in many ways, he said.
"A workout helps physically, mentally and emotionally," said Winkler, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and sees his workouts as a type of therapy for it.
"Emotionally, it helps you feel good about yourself," he said.
Spc. Brandon Grote has been part of the WTB since December and is in third week of class.
"Overall it makes me feel better. I have not been as active," he said.
Other Soldiers said they are inspired by Winkler.
"I've got my limbs, and I feel sorry for myself," said Sgt. 1st Class Edward Jackson. "He goes through the gym like he has legs."