FORT BLISS, Texas -- When Spec. David Snypes Jr. incurred a devastating injury to his arm in May 2014, he never envisioned that he would be standing tall with a gold medal around his neck at the Army Warrior Care and Transition's 2017 Army Trials.
Snypes, a second year athlete who earned his first gold medal in cycling, is among 80 wounded, ill and injured active-duty Soldiers and veterans from across the country to train and compete in the series of competitive events at the 2017 Army Trials at Fort Bliss, Texas. Selected athletes will represent Team Army at the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games, 30 June -- 8 July in Chicago, Illinois.
A Bronx, NY native, Snypes received his treatment at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and remarked that the encouragements he received from the Adaptive Sports Program coaching staff were tremendous. In his first year, he was challenged by the program (Adaptive Sports) manager to try out for several different sports, and this year, he is competing in cycling, track, field, air rifle, and swimming. "All the coaches were great," said Snypes, "they all were a positive influence and helped me to fine tune my skills to be the best athlete possible."
The Warrior Care and Transition Program ensures wounded, ill and injured Soldiers have the support and resources they need to recover and return to duty or enter into veteran status.
"Warrior Care and Transition is a great program; it helped me a lot through all stages of my recovery period," remarked Snypes. "My wife is a nurse and she was concerned with the pain medication dependency or addiction; this program gave me the strength to overcome my pain through sports and gradually get myself off the medication."
Snypes biggest take away from the Army Trials -- 'comradeship', "Besides the competitiveness, the comradery that I gain in these two-weeks will be tremendous; sharing information that is relevant to all of us is just incredible."
When asked if there is one message to fellow Warriors, Snypes replied, "Be resilient; take small steps and get moving!"
Currently settled in Bloomingburg, NY, Snypes hopes to make the Army Team and travel to Chicago in June. For his future plan, Snypes has his eyes set on the Invictus Games and Para-Olympics.
Throughout the week of competition, wounded, ill and injured warriors will train and compete in archery, cycling, track, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, and wheelchair basketball. Participants in the trials are active-duty service members and Veterans with upper-body, lower-body and spinal cord injuries; serious illnesses; traumatic brain injuries; visual impairment; and post-traumatic stress disorder.