By MaryTherese Griffin, Warrior Care and TransitionDecember 7, 2018
Building a better you through wheelchair basketball
MaryTherese Griffin, Warrior Care and Transition
ARLINGTON, Va. - Wheelchair basketball has provided one Soldier with more than just a way to stay in shape at the Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Carson, Colorado. U.S. Army Spc. Drew Joyner, who is overcoming physical injuries and a traumatic brain injury he suffered in an accident while he was deployed in 2017, has become a star on the Fort Carson wheelchair basketball court. The sport and his success on the court have been key factors in his recovery, especially with regard to his self-confidence. He reminds himself on a daily basis, "[My injuries] happened to me, but I'm still pushing on."
Joyner says he was told by his transition coordinator, Marc Cattapan, "You're not just a person that's hurt, you're someone who can do extraordinary things." Joyner took that to heart and has tried to do just that.
Not only did he learn how to play wheelchair basketball, but he has become pretty good at it. Good enough that the Fort Carson WTB made him its team captain. Joyner says being named captain was the just what he needed and he achieved it through hard work and fun, what he calls a good combination. "The more fun you have the more your confidence boosts and that builds a better you," he said. Joyner worked with his career and education readiness program and adaptive reconditioning team to put together a wheelchair basketball game with Peterson Air Force Base across town.
"It was our team from the Army at Fort Carson and the team from the Air Force at Peterson AFB and it wasn't just a competition," Joyner explains. It was a great adaptive reconditioning experience as most of the participants on the Army team were from the WTB. "To us, [the game is] a big deal."
In case you are wondering, the Fort Carson team was victorious, beating the team from Peterson AFB 32-11, but promises were made to come back next year, not only as competitors, but as friends. "I came out of it with a family," said Joyner of his cross town brothers in arms. He is proud of his hard work having put together a successful event that will likely continue for years to come.
Wheelchair basketball has not only help rebuild Joyner's confidence, but could also be opening the doors for a new career. Recently, Joyner learned he will soon begin an internship with the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, an opportunity he hopes may lead him to a job in professional sports.