By Christopher Fields, Army Warrior Care and TransitionNovember 7, 2017
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Retired U.S. Army Spc. Jay Vaina has returned this year in hopes of being afforded another opportunity to represent Team Army at the Department of Defense Warrior Games. Vaina made his Warrior Games debut last year earning silver in shot put and sitting volleyball and a gold in discus. He was also a key member of the gold medal winning wheelchair basketball team that beat Team Navy 56-55. With one DoD Warrior Games experience under his belt, Vaina doesn't want to miss out on another one.
"I've been working hard, training hard for another chance to compete. I also want to come back and beat Navy." Vaina said referring both to their loss to Navy in the sitting volleyball gold medal match and getting another win over them in wheelchair basketball.
Despite his quiet nature, Vaina is a fierce competitor and is aware, should he be named to Team Army again this year, he made need to take on more of a leadership role. "Last year, I was able to sit back and just compete. This yeah, if I make it, I've got experience and I know what to expect so I will be able to help others."
Vaina has been working and training hard since last summer, competing in several events like (name events). One thing he has learned from his experience since the 2016 DoD Warrior Games is that conditioning plays a big part in the competition. "The schedule last year was crazy and conditioning-wise, I wasn't ready and where I needed to be," Vaina said. "So coming into this year I've been working on my conditioning, doing more cardio. I've been cycling a lot more with Operation Comfort which has helped my conditioning. I'll be ready if I go to Colorado."
Armed with DoD Warrior Games experience and a burning desire to beat Navy, Vaina is definitely one to keep your eye on through the Trials phase of the Team Army selection process. If all goes well for him, Vaina may once again be one of the 40 members of Team Army and compete at the 2018 DoD Warrior Games 2-9 June in Colorado Springs, Colo. and if he is, Navy isn't the only team that should be worried.