Competition helps Army veteran on and off the field
By: Christopher Fields, Army Warrior Care and TransitionJACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Retired U.S. Army Spc. Angela Euson has been training hard since last year's Department of Defense Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado to represent Team Army again in 2019. Her performance at the 2019 Army Trials at Fort Bliss, Texas (eight gold medals in powerlifting, swimming and track events) showed just how much that work is paying off."I went into last year's Warrior Games not really knowing what to expect and just hoping not to finish last in my events," Euson recalled of her mindset heading into the 2018 Warrior Games. "This year, I'm a lot more prepared and confident in myself because I know what I can do and I'm healthier and in a better place mentally."Euson was training as a combat medic when she was assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington in 2017 to recover from an illness. As she recovered, Euson was introduced to competitive adaptive sports, something that made her feel right at home since she grew up playing softball, swimming and competing in gymnastics. She participated in the 2017 Regional Trials at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and the experience brought back feelings she had not felt in a while."Being at the Regional Trials gave me a sense of purpose and the comradery you get from being a part of a team that I hadn't had in a long time," Euson said. "[The experience] reminded me of how much I enjoyed getting out there and competing and seeing how far I can push myself."The opportunity to compete again has had a positive impact on Euson, who medically retired in November 2018. Euson has been using training for the 2019 DoD Warrior Games as a means to help her set fitness goals and keep that competitive fire burning bright."[Competition] is a confidence booster for me and it lets me know that if I can accomplish the small things, than I can take on anything," Euson said.Euson is now back in her hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, close to her family and beloved beaches, preparing to return to school in July and focus on a new career in the civilian world she learned about while at the WTB. "I'm going back to school to become a dietitian. After working with and learning from the dietitians at the WTB, I know that's what I want to do."The program will take her two years to finish and will require plenty of time studying, but Euson will make time to continue to train and compete. She has ambitions of competing in powerlifting in the future and will continue to push towards that goal after Warrior Games ends and her classes begin.In the meantime, before that next chapter officially begins, Euson is looking forward to competing in Tampa and representing Team Army at the DoD Warrior Games for the second time in two years."This year, being at Warrior Games is even more of an opportunity for me. It gives me the chance to compare where I was last year to where I am this year, not just in terms of competition, but physically and emotionally. It's a big deal for me in a lot of ways and I'm ready."