By Maria Yager, Army MedicineMarch 5, 2019
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Four Soldiers and one Veteran from Fort Campbell's Warrior Transition Battalion are competing in the Army Trials at Fort Bliss, Texas, March 6 to 16, to earn a spot on Team Army for the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games later this year.
The DOD Warrior Games is an adaptive sports competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and Veterans. Both the Army Trials and Warrior Games provide an adaptive reconditioning outreach opportunity for the Soldiers to get involved in, outside of their routine adaptive reconditioning workouts while assigned to a WTB. The games highlight the resiliency and warrior spirit of service members and veterans despite their wounds, injuries and illness.
"For me personally, it's a good opportunity because after I got injured this last time it was pretty rough," said WTB Soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Fontenot, competing in adaptive power lifting, rowing, seated shotput and discus, and wheelchair racing. Fontenot said he felt discouraged leaving his Soldiers after his knee-injury took him from the fight. "[The Army Trials and Warrior Games] gives me something to fight for."
Soldiers in a WTB are going through the recovery and transition process after being wounded, or sustaining an injury or illness requiring six months or more of rehabilitative care and complex medical management. In addition to their medical treatment, adaptive sports and occupational therapy are a part of each Soldier's care plan.
A physical therapist at the WTB creates an individualized positive profile for each Soldier indicating which adaptive reconditioning activities meet the Soldier's interests and physical abilities. These activities contribute to the Soldier's recuperation and recovery, supporting their physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing.
"It's been very beneficial. The adaptive reconditioning program has really helped me, allowing me to do what I can do within my limits, but also pushing me," said Sgt. 1st Class Ian Crawley, currently assigned to the WTB. Crawley was deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team when he experienced a life-threatening injury, requiring emergency surgery and medical evacuation.
At the WTB, Crawley has undergone a series of surgeries to repair the damage and restore his health. He said working with the physical therapist and participating in adaptive reconditioning activities has been a helpful aspect in his recovery and regaining abilities.
"Being able to ride my bike again has been great. Because of my injuries it was something that I couldn't do for a long time. It's a great hobby and helping other Soldiers do that as well, within the cycling program at the WTB, has been really rewarding," said Crawley. He is competing in cycling, rowing, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball, and field events at the trials.
Other competitors from the Fort Campbell WTB include Master Sgt. Cinnamon Wright, competing in archery, shooting, cycling, and rowing; Staff Sgt. Kenneth Arnold, cycling, rowing, shooting, archery; and Veteran Jonathan Weasner, wheelchair racing, hand-cycle, seated field-discus and shotput, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, and shooting.