Field of dreams: Team Army trains for 2019 DoD Warrior Games field events
By Joseph Jones, Madigan Army Medical Center Public Affairs
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Team Army is dedicated and training with intense focus for the upcoming field events in the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games. This year's field athletes are a combination of returning and first-time Warrior Games participants.
"I got into adaptive sports through the Warrior Transition Battalion. It's awesome, coming together as a team, building each other up and supporting each other, it's just awesome." said Capt. Mya Gordon, a Soldier from the Fort Bliss WTB, who is competing in the DoD Warrior Games for the first time.
"It's definitely helped with my focus and overall wellness," Gordon added. "I plan on pursuing adaptive sports even more and hopefully going on to Valor Games and possibly more in the future."
Louis Cortez, a Fort Bliss WTB physical therapist, is supporting Team Army at the DoD Warrior Games this year, providing one-on-one care to the athletes. "First and foremost, when you have a Soldier, who's a hard-charger, and that's taken away (from duty) due to an injury or illness, they can lose themselves and sometimes need that focus again. It's a lifestyle change, but they are still able to do these things, just at a different level or in a new way," said Cortez.
"It does so much for these athletes mentally as well. That's what I have seen from adaptive sports. I have been a physical therapist for over 21 years; nothing gives me greater pleasure than helping someone achieve their goal. That's one way I can contribute to help them," added Cortez.
Athletes compete in various classification categories based on their functional abilities, including impaired muscle power, range of movement, limb deficiency and visual impairment.
"Here at warrior games, I'm really excited to be here in the field events. One of the great things about adaptive sports, is that there is something for everyone," said retired Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Olson, a Washington state native, competing for the first time in the DoD Warrior Games.
"After Warrior Games, I plan to keep going. There are adaptive sports I can work at every day to continue to strive to be a better athlete." said Olson.
Field events include standing shot put, seated shot put, seated discus, and standing discus. The weights of the shot put and discus vary for men and women in both the seated and standing events.
Athletes with lower function and/or impaired balance utilize specialized equipment, such as the field throwing chair. For seated events, throwing chairs are staked down using stakes and ratcheted tie-downs.
"Being here at the games, feeling the camaraderie, it's great to have that unit cohesion again. It really is extended family to me," said retired Staff Sgt. Matthew Lammers of Fairview, North Carolina, who is returning to the DoD Warrior Games for the second time.
"To see other people that are recently injured, and be there for them as a team is remarkable. I just passed my 12-year anniversary of becoming a triple-amputee. This cheers me up in a way I can't describe in words," added Lammers. "Between the Army Trials and now, we all stay in touch. I always want them to know I'm there for them, and I know they are there for me."
The field events will take place Sunday, June 23 at the University of South Florida as a part of the 2019 DoD Warrior Games which will run from June 21-30 in Tampa Bay, Florida. The athletes participating in the competition are comprised of wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans representing the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Command. Athletes from the United Kingdom Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Armed Forces of the Netherlands, and the Danish Armed Forces are also competing in this year's DoD Warrior Games.
For more information about the 2019 DoD Warrior Games visit: https://dodwarriorgames.com