By MaryTherese GriffinJune 19, 2019
Advice about the old man at Warrior Games
By MaryTherese Griffin, Army Warrior Care and Transition
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - When 55 year old U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ken Arnold competes at the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Tampa he will be among the oldest to ever do so. The wiring and cable installer, who suffered a spinal injury while deployed overseas in August 2017, is ready for the competition, particularly the cycling event.
"My physical therapist recommended the best exercise for me was to ride a recumbent bike - I've never done that before," Arnold said. His first impressions of the recumbent bike, a bike with one wheel in the back and two on either side of the front allowing the rider to sit down and cycle with back support, was that it was "an old man bike." However, that was before he understood the purpose of it and saw what it could do.
Arnold has developed into a competitive recumbent cyclist and will be in the hunt for medals according to Lindsay Davison, Senior Physical Therapist at Fort Campbell, Kentucky's Warrior Transition Battalion where Arnold recovered and overcame his injury.
"[Other competitors] better bring [their] 'A' game! Arnold was out there at 23 miles per hour on a steady road, at a steady pace for 45 minutes. He is fierce," Davison says with a laugh.
Arnold is smiling at his transformation as a person from his WTB experience and is looking forward to competing for Team Army with a few of his friends from Fort Campbell.
"With Becky Richardson our Recreational Therapist and then my teammates retired Sgt. Jonathan Weasner, Sgt. 1st Class Ian Crawley, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Fontenot and Master Sgt. Cinnamon Wright, they all bring out the best in me. I hope other Soldiers see that no matter what your injury, you can come back from it. You won't ever be 100% again, but 80% is better than 0%," Arnold said.
Recreational Therapist Becky Richardson has also been there every step of the way and sees the determination Arnold has to win gold. "I'm excited for all of them, they've all worked so hard but Ken was one of those guys you had to get to know. You never know who is going to be an athlete- give them all a chance. Ken is a terrific athlete. He is a power house and he will win gold. His competitors shouldn't judge a book by its cover," said Richardson.
Members of the Fort Campbell Community are excited to see the end of this story of triumph and recovery and they will be cheering Arnold on from Kentucky. Davison says, no matter the outcome, Arnold has already won.
"Arnold has come so far and I am so excited for him. He's lost weight, healthier and is excited about his future," Richardson added.