By Marcy Sanchez
Sports have always played a large part in U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Mya Leigh Gordon's life. The Duluth, Minnesota native has always held a spot in high school and collegiate sports teams before being commissioned in the Army Reserves in 2011.
In 2018, after being activated to support the Mobilization and Deployment Brigade, out of Fort Bliss, Texas, Gordon's life changed dramatically after a regular physical training session one morning.
"We were doing (physical training) one morning and I couldn't feel any (sensation) in my shoulder, but afterward I found it hard to shower and knew it didn't feel right," said Gordon. "I went to the doctor got an MRI and doctors found a slap tear."
A SLAP tear, as it is commonly referred to, stands for Superior Labral tear Anterior to Posterior, a painful injury in the shoulder which prevents overhead movements and other discomforts. The diagnosis was a devastating upset to Gordon, who was slated to return home a few months after the diagnosis.
"I've always been an athlete. In high school, I played soccer, hockey, and softball, and in college I played softball and hockey," said Gordon, who continued her love of sports even after graduating college by coaching a softball team for five more years. "(The injury) was a big downer at first. I was in a sling for six weeks and it was rough."
Following her surgery, Gordon opted to stay at Fort Bliss to continue her medical care and was assigned to the Fort Bliss Warrior Transition Battalion, where she was introduced to the adaptive sports program.
"My friend was assigned to the (WTB) as well. Her and I started getting into the adaptive reconditioning program and it's been awesome," said Gordon, an ordnance officer with the 644th Regional Support Group, U.S. Army Reserve, out of Fort Snelling, Minnesota. "We've done all the different athletic activities they have, and it gives me a drive. It's been amazing, adaptive reconditioning has been so cool, there's so many different things that you can try."
Almost a year after her initial surgery, Gordon is joining nearly 100 other wounded, ill or injured athletes, competing for a spot to represent the Army during 2019 Army Trials at Fort Bliss, Texas. Following the Army Trials, top performers will be selected to represent Team Army at the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games, June 21 - 30 in Tampa, Fla. Gordon is competing in Archery, cycling, field events, and swimming at the Army Trials.
"It's intense but I'd like to go to warrior game," she said.
But the road to the Army Trials hasn't been easy for Gordon, who credits the friendships she's made at the WTB with helping her recovery.
"I had to learn to write with my right hand, it really brought me down, but I don't want to let down my friends by not being (at adaptive sports events). If it's a bad day, I'm still going to go just to support them," said Gordon. "I've been meeting so many cool people, it's really encouraging and fun to cheer people on. I'd like to learn more from the (Army Trials) coaches and get help honing my skills, make different friendships, build camaraderie, and enjoy the different experience."