By Whitney Delbridge Nichels, Warrior Care and TransitionJune 18, 2018
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The old saying goes, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." That's a mantra Sgt. 1st Class Tiffany Rodriguez-Rexroad fully embodied in her mission to compete at the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games.
"It's simple: I'm bull-headed," she laughed. "My husband will tell you I'm one of the most stubborn people he knows."
Her journey to Warrior Games began in 2014 following a freak accident at Fort Hood, Texas. "I was crossing the street and I was hit by a distracted driver," Rodriguez-Rexroad said.
The accident left her with numerous injuries, including broken ribs, a punctured lung and the need for a hip replacement.
Going into the Warrior Transition Battalion at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas was not part of her plans.
"I thought, 'That's where you go when they're kicking you out', but I was wrong," she said. "They assured me that I could return to duty if I recovered enough. And I saw this person returning to duty and that person returning to duty. So, I told them that's what I wanted to do."
It was during her time at the WTB that she learned about adaptive sports.
Rodriguez-Rexroad says she'd never been much of an athlete, having only run cross country in high school, but she picked up cycling, shooting and field events during her recovery. Within no time, she was training for the 2016 Army Trials at Fort Bliss, but unfortunately, she was not chosen for Team Army.
After another failed attempt at the 2017 Army Trials, Rodriguez-Rexroad did what any good Soldier would do: she decided not to give up.
"I said alright, I need to step up my game."
After successfully returning to duty, Rodriguez-Rexroad went to Fort Huachuca, Arizona where she began training throughout the year in the high elevation.
In February, her hard work paid off -- earning her 10 medals in a variety of sports during the 2018 Army Trials. "People told me I was going to have back problems from carrying all that weight around," she laughed.
"I was very proud of myself, but I was nervous the first few days," she says, describing the time period after Army Trials ended. "Then finally I got the call. I was like, 'Yeah!' I felt great."
At the 2018 DoD Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Rodriguez-Rexroad competed in field, cycling, swimming and track, taking home multiple medals and creating a close bond with her teammates.
The Military Intelligence System Maintainer also received a promotion from Staff Sgt. to Sgt. 1st Class during the competition.
It's safe to say she's having an amazing year, despite the obstacles she's had to overcome.
"I'm just a farm girl from West Virginia," she said. "I'm living proof that injury does not have to be the end. I'm proud of everyone [who competed at the DoD Warrior Games]."