By John M. Rosenberg, Warrior Transition CommandJune 14, 2016
WEST POINT, N.Y. (June 13, 2016) -- During Army Trials at Fort Bliss, Texas in March, U.S. Army Sgt. David (Davey) Jones was readying to make a permanent change of station to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. At that time, he was unsure if the move would preclude him from participating in the 2016 Warrior Games, held at the United States Military Academy at West Point, June 15-21.
He said his goodbyes to his fellow Soldiers and staff at the Fort Bragg, North Carolina Warrior Transition Battalion, where he recovered from a shoulder injury. Then, at Army Trials, he bid a tentative farewell to his fellow adaptive sports teammates.
Fortunately, Jones was able to make the trip to West Point and is competing in archery, swimming and field events. The electronic warfare specialist is a highly vocal advocate for adaptive sports, especially at his new assignment in Washington state.
"JBLM has great facilities in which to train," said Jones. "They have great pools, great gyms and an excellent Sportsman's Club where the regional WTB practices. I've taken it upon myself to help and to spread the word as much as I can."
Jones acquired a new bow via a non-profit organization that introduces and assists wounded, ill and injured Soldiers with the sport of archery. "That was really cool getting a new bow, so I didn't have to go out and borrow one from the WTB anymore," said Jones.
Jones spoke of the cartilage injury in his shoulder that occurred while training for Special Forces duty and of his assignment to the WTB where he discovered the resiliency-building qualities of adaptive sports.
"The WTB and adaptive sports really helped in getting me back to duty," said Jones. "I'm a very resilient person. The sports helped me kick it up a notch and made me want to continue my service in the military."
As a kid growing up in the rolling hills of northwestern Vermont, Jones played ice hockey and soccer. He also learned how to swim at an early age.
Though accustomed to the water, Jones recognizes that he has a lot to learn when it comes to swimming competitively. His favorite technique in the pool is the breaststroke, considered among the slowest of the primary swim strokes owing to the limited propulsion that is generated. It is said that breaststrokers are born and not made on account of its unnatural motion and mechanics.
"I've trained the breaststroke a lot more than I have the others," said Jones, who added that it's also among the preferred swim strokes for those undergoing physical recovery.
In his unofficial capacity as an ambassador of adaptive sports Jones extolls its profound stress reduction benefits. "In general, just getting out there and doing stuff… it helped me greatly with my mindset," said Jones. "I've always been known as a real positive person and adaptive sports have definitely reinforced that, in addition to bumping up my resiliency. I used to be an eight, when it comes to resiliency. Now I am a 10. There's not a whole lot that can knock me down anymore."
You could say that Jones is on a mission when it comes to talking about adaptive sports. "I would love to convince others to take up these sports," said Jones. "I'd like to start something official, like a gym, when I get home. Help others. Spread the love."
At Warrior Games Jones is very much looking forward to the competition and in bettering his individual time. However, he admits that, for him, it's more about having the opportunity to once again participate in organized adaptive sports, setting goals, staying active and spreading the word.