By CourtesyDecember 20, 2018
Injured Soldier glides into the next chapter of his life on a hockey sled
By MaryTherese Griffin, Warrior Care and Transition
ARLINGTON, Va. - When Spc. Trevor Hunter woke up in a Colorado hospital on August 27, 2017 after a drunk driver hit the car he was riding in, he knew his life would be different. "With my injuries I could not fly, and I could not go out into the conditions with the wounds I had. I couldn't continue doing my job," said Hunter. He required surgeries for his abdomen and suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. His unit, Company D, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 299th Brigade Engineer Battalion, deployed without him. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operator would enter the Fort Carson Warrior Transition Unit where he continues his therapy today. In the beginning, the Soldier who loved playing hockey was feeling hopeless until he made a friend at the WTU adaptive reconditioning program.
"After the accident, I was totally defeated thinking of my body as ugly, useless, and that I would never be the same as I knew myself to be. I could run under 13 minutes in the two mile run and exceeded my pushups and sit-ups on the Army Physical Fitness Test, I was one of the better people in physical training in my unit. When I got into the WTU, I met with the adaptive reconditioning team during in-processing. Marc Cattapan was one of the first team members I met. Being fresh from my accident, I didn't want to do much social or interaction with anyone. I didn't want to attend the mandatory in-processing at all. "I was wrong for having any negative thoughts about the WTU and its adaptive reconditioning members," said Hunter.
Matt Cattapan is one of the most passionate persons I've met when it comes to the recovery and reconditioning of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers. "I have tremendous respect and compassion for anyone who signs a blank check to defend our nation and its constitution. If they pay that price and end up in the hospital to recover, I want to be the guy who helps them back onto a path to recovery, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle," said Cattapan.
That path included hockey but a slightly different version that began to excite Hunter.
"During the in-processing, he told me that they had tons of sports available to choose from. Without me wondering what they had, he wanted to know what I was interested in and I told him that I played lacrosse, and hockey but my passion was hockey and I did not think I would be able to ever play again. It was during that meeting he told me that they had an instruction exposition for sled hockey coming up at the Sertich Ice Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was the open door I needed to get me into the world of sled hockey," Hunter said.
Marc Cattapan is a fan of Hunter who now plays for the Colorado Sled Hockey Warrior team. "He's a feisty competitor who gives the proverbial 110%. Off the ice, he is one of the nicest guys you will meet. A good ole American Soldier with tremendous integrity and selfless in service to others." He volunteers, practices and works toward a new career thanks to the Career Education and Readiness team at the Fort Carson WTU. He plans on retiring to civilian life in February with goals he is already netting.
"I have been getting my higher education at American Military University/ American Public University System. Currently I am six courses shy from a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology Management and I am hoping to get a job in the information technology field. I have been offered an Information Technology specialist job at TEK systems in Vernon Hills, Illinois which is 30-45 minutes away from my wife and kids," Hunter said.
"Another big decision for me is to play for an Illinois sled hockey team or remain with the team in Colorado. Either way, I am thankful to be able to glide into this next chapter of my life," said Hunter. .