By Lee Packnett, Warrior Care and TransitionNovember 8, 2018
Wheelchair Tennis, a first for Pacific Regional Warrior trials
By Lee M. Packnett, Warrior Care and Transition
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hi. - Day one of Pacific Regional Warrior trails competition began with the first ever competitive matches in wheelchair tennis at the Schofield Barracks Martinez Gymnasium. Eight two-person teams were organized by regions and included two veteran only teams. The teams competed in a best two of three single elimination format and a best three of five for third place and the championship.
Mr. Lee Whitford, recreational therapist at the Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion and Team Army Wheelchair Tennis coach officiated the matches and is responsible for introducing the sport to the adaptive reconditioning program at Fort Bragg. The sport is included in the Invictus Games and was introduced at the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games as an exhibition sport.
The game of wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis as endorsed by the International Tennis Federation except the wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces of the ball. The player must return the ball before it hits the ground a third time. The wheelchair is part of the body and all applicable ITF Rules which apply
to a player's body shall apply to the wheelchair.
Today's competition concluded with a Regional Health Command Pacific team of Sgt. 1st Class Giovanni Albach and Sgt. Steven Wurth outlasting another RHC-P team of Maj. Kristina Carney and Spc. Christopher Phillips three games to two. Regional Health Command Atlantic team of Sgt. 1st Class Shannon McLimans and Sgt. Johnathan Weasner won the championship match over another RHC-A team of Sgt. 1st Class Ian Crawley and Spc. Zachary Owens three games to two.
McLimans is a first time participant recovering at the Fort Bragg WTB while Weasner is a returning member of Team Army who participated in the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the United States Military Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Today was also a first for both competitors competing as a team in wheelchair tennis.
Adaptive reconditioning activities such as wheelchair tennis can be an integral part of a Soldier's Comprehensive Transition Plan and help to build resilience, strengthen relationships and improve self-confidence.