FORT BENNING, Ga. (March 27, 2018) -- Three Soldiers from the Fort Benning Warrior Transition Battalion are heading to the Department of Defense Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this summer after successfully medaling in the Army Trials held earlier this month at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Maj. Christina Truesdale, Sgt. 1st Class Julio Rodriguez and Spc. Konnie Wells competed against nearly 80 other Soldiers and veterans from other states to earn a spot on this year's Army team and will head to the games hosted by the Air Force Academy in June.
"It was really an amazing experience as I was an athlete before I suffered two spinal cord injuries and a stroke", said Truesdale. "It was the first time in a long time I felt near normal again."
Wells also excelled at the trials at Fort Bliss, scoring five total medals in cycling, track and power lifting.
"I feel excited and blessed because this an opportunity not many Soldiers get, a chance to compete for the military," said Wells. "It is a good program to help Soldiers to find their potential."
Established in 2010, the annual games are designed to enhance the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded warriors while exposing them to adaptive sports.
Warriors battle it out in 11 different events, including cycling, swimming, track, power lifting, wheelchair basketball and more.
Rodriquez said as a non-commissioned officer he knows firsthand the importance of rehearsals. That's why the Fort Bliss trials provided him the right opportunity to test his endurance in many ways.
"It was a hands-on experience, which not only allowed us to practice and fine-tune our events, but to learn what our bodies and minds can do to overcome both physical and mental stresses, which will greatly help me at the next level," said Rodriquez.
Leaders at Fort Benning's Warrior Transition Battalion make adaptive sports and reconditioning a priority in a Soldier's overall care and recovery.
"It does not matter if a Soldier is transitioning out of the military or working to return to duty," said Lt. Col. Louis D. Gray, commander of the Warrior Transition Battalion. "We want our adaptive reconditioning program to be the centerpiece in any recovery plan."
Truesdale, who's also a doctor in veterinary medicine, credits the program in her own rehabilitation efforts.
"It has been instrumental in my recovery," said Truesdale. "I would not be where I am today without the adaptive reconditioning program."
More than 250 wounded, ill and injured servicemembers and veterans from across all the services will compete in June's competition, something Fort Benning's competitors say only adds to the honor of being part of the team.
"I am beyond excited," said Truesdale. "I still can't believe I got selected with so many amazing athletes out there I am still reeling,"
"It's not only encouraging for me to be part of the team, but also an opportunity to encourage my fellow teammates," said Wells.
"The games go beyond just the competition, as it builds lifelong camaraderie amongst all of those who compete from across the different services," said Rodriquez.
The 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Colorado Springs runs from June 2 through 9.
Benning News on the Army News Service
Warrior Transition Battalion at Martin Army Community Hospital