By MaryTherese Griffin, Warrior Care and TransitionMarch 15, 2019
FORT BLISS, Texas -- Pfc. Kyia Costanzo had her whole life planned out according to the women in her life who had great influence over her.
"I actually wanted to join the Army ever since I was in high school and I have some family and friends who are really strong military women and I wanted to be just like them."
Her career halted almost as soon as it started. During a field training exercise in basic training she fell into a grass covered hole severely injuring her right ankle. Her recovery at Joint Base Lewis McChord has been a journey through injections, physical therapy and pain management...all things she opted for before considering surgery.
"When I initially got injured it was very discouraging. I saw several Soldiers that were injured in training that got out but I didn't want to do that. I know what I signed up for and I wanted to fulfill that contract, I wanted to uphold my obligation to my country. I do want to return to duty. I'm not giving up."
She loves her Warrior Transition Unit at JBLM and says she feels blessed to have been introduced to them in November 2017. "It's an incredible program whether you are trying to return to duty or transition out, they make it easier on you with leadership, doctors and nurse case managers are all there dedicated to helping you go where you want to go. I could not be more fortunate to be in a unit helping me and others."
The intelligence analyst in the Washington National Guard doesn't want to sit idly while awaiting her fate. When her physical and recreational therapists introduced her to the notion of the Army Trials, an adaptive sports competition taking place from March 6-16 at Fort Bliss, Texas, she had a new sense of purpose.
"This program is where we get to try different events that are adapted to our injuries, makes me feel like I can still accomplish things and I can still be part of a team," she said.
Costanzo is competing in the trials' archery, swimming, and powerlifting. Her goal? To make Team Army and compete at Warrior Games in Tampa in June 2019. Through all the friends she's made during the trials, she says the common talk is about how important these games are to fellow Soldiers and herself.
"When you are an injured Soldier, especially those who have been (injured) for an extended period of time, and you have your career change so abruptly, being a part of this program keeps you part of that Army Team."