By Annette P. Gomes Warrior Care Transition
FORT BLISS, TX - If you ask Maj. Kristina Carney how competitive she is, her answer is simple.
"I would certainly say 10; if you ask my family, they would tell you a 12 out of 10," Carney laughed. "I love to compete, and I used to play every sport possible. Competition fuels adrenaline and helps me to stay active. I feel that competition helps distract the mind from everything else that is going on in the world albeit pain or anything else besides the moment you are focused in on at that time," she continued.
In 2011, multiple service-related injuries which culminated in debilitating nerve damage to her right foot and back surgery would almost sideline her active lifestyle. She healed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Warrior Transition Battalion.
"When I arrived to the WTB I was notified that I would be participating in adaptive sports at least 150 minutes per week as per our positive profile. Within one month the physical therapist had me written up for several adaptive sports." Carney said. "I immediately fell in love with wheelchair basketball, rowing, and air rifle. I immediately craved more and wanted to try as many as I was physically and functionally capable. I even attempted the adaptive ski this past winter," she added.
Carney says her enthusiasm for trying new adaptive sports reached a new level.
"One hesitation I had about trying new sports was doing anything at full speed before I received my prosthetic brace for my foot. Without the added layer of protection on my foot and ankle or without my ability to properly walk I felt like I couldn't protect myself at all," Carney said. "Additionally, I was hesitant about swimming with one leg and I had to adjust to my new normal. Nevertheless, I made the decision to do it, and I am overcoming the nuances and I am loving the water all the same," she said.
During her recovery period, Carney said she learned an important lesson.
"I have made life-long friends along the way, met incredible resilient and fighting Soldiers who have returned to duty and some that have transitioned themselves; but with each other, as a team, we have made each other stronger. " she said.
The Washington state native is now taking her passion to the 2019 Army trials at Fort Bliss, Texas. She will join more than 100 wounded, ill or injured athletes competing for a spot on Team Army for the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games, June 21 - 30 in Tampa, Fla. Carney will compete in swimming, hand cycle, air rifle, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair tennis.
"Getting chosen and having the opportunity to attend the Army Trials next to other Wounded, Ill, and Injured Soldiers across the Army is an honor. Competing in the trials will help to remind me that I am a strong, capable, and a resilient Soldier that can overcome anything."