By Annette P. GomesAugust 27, 2019
Sgt. David Crook: Paying it forward
By Annette P. Gomes, Army Warrior Care and Transition
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Retired U.S. Army Sgt. David Crook's entry into the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Sam Houston, Texas in 2015 marked the beginning of a brand new journey. He was assigned there to recover after suffering a knee injury and enduring several surgeries. It was also where he was first introduced to adaptive reconditioning sports and rediscovered his enjoyment for sports and competition.
"There was a moment during recovery when I learned that being injured wasn't an 'end all' and there was still a lot I could do. I could still play the sports I enjoyed and compete in a new way," Crook said. "Adaptive reconditioning taught Crook how to take the sports skills he already had and reapply them in a new setting. I learned new skills along the way and learned there is always a way to achieve the desired goal" he added.
One of Crook's goals included competing in the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Chicago. The former Humans Resources Specialist won gold medals in both the discus and the shot put competition. He also hurled a record-setting discus throw of 36.82 meters from near the middle of Soldier Field over the sideline wall and into the stands. It was a defining moment he says prepared him for the next chapter in his life.
"When I threw that discus into the stands at Soldier Field in Chicago, I realized this was more than just a sporting event. In that moment, I realized just how far I had come since returning from my deployment," Crook said. "Adaptive sports helped me to find purpose and a new way to deal with setbacks following my injuries and my transition back to civilian life. After seeing how much adaptive sports helped me, I knew that I needed to share that with others."
Crook went on to participate in the 2018 DoD Warrior Games in Colorado Springs and the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia.
The Texas native believes participating in sports can help anyone, especially veterans, to deal with other areas of life and he hopes providing the opportunity will allow him to help others. He's currently working on a project to help Veterans secure equipment for adaptive sports.
"Sports have the ability to teach a variety of life lessons and skills. I know sports have taught me how to work with others, take criticism and use that to improve myself, and how to set goals and deal with setbacks," Crook said. "Sports also provide a way for participants to form life-long friendships with teammates and coaches. It promotes an active lifestyle that improves our overall health, physical and mental well-being. It provides a form of therapy that cannot be achieved in a doctor's office."
Editor note: This is part of an ongoing Soldier series entitled: Where are they now