Hanging Tough
By MaryTherese Griffin, U.S. Army Warrior Care and Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. - Athletes and Soldiers share common bonds. They train, have a mission and work as a team. When an injury comes along however, it can take them out of the game, unless you are U.S. Army Capt. Mya Gordon of Duluth, Minnesota. The avid softball player and Army Ordinance Officer had an unexpected twist to both her worlds.

Gordon injured her shoulder during section Physical Readiness Training in February 2018. After six weeks of physical therapy, she had a magnetic resonance imaging procedure that revealed she had suffered a superior labral tear from anterior to posterior, or SLAP tear, which needed surgery. After surgery in May of 2018, Gordon began her recovery to become that athlete again and return to duty with her unit. It would be a 16-month process at the Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Bliss, Texas.

"Participating in adaptive sports has given me a new perspective on the challenges and adversities someone faces, both physically and mentally. There are many days when you feel defeated, like you have gone one step forward in recovery only to go 50 steps backwards," said Gordon.

Perseverance is certainly in her recovery playbook. She even earned a coveted spot on Team Army and competed at the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Tampa, Florida this past June where she won a bronze medal in Women's Seated Discus, 6.0. She also competed in archery, swimming, track and cycling. Her embrace of adaptive sports opened a whole new world of athleticism she never knew she could do.

"Adaptive sports have helped my healing in many different ways. Not only have they given me the opportunity to try different sports, but they have allowed me to push myself further and harder in order to excel in them."

She says being on a team again was more than helpful in her quest to recover and overcome from her injury. "The friendships I have made while participating in adaptive sports are another huge driving force that hold me accountable as well," Gordon said. "I don't want to miss an event because I don't want to let my friends down and I want to be there to encourage them as well. We all have different issues we are dealing with, but when we are participating in adaptive sports, those seem to go away."

Gordon also feels blessed to have the support of her family during her recovery, despite being so far from home.

"My dad has been by my side through all my ups and downs and is my rock. My mom is the most hardworking, selfless woman I know. She has sacrificed so much for me and I can count on her for anything," said the good Captain who is raring to get back to her family and her unit and resume her duties. "It's been a long 16 months with a lot of setbacks and discouragement, but it feels good to be fit for duty and know I will finally be headed home soon!"

Gordon offers this advice for any Soldier at a WTB facing physical or mental setbacks, "Don't be afraid of trying something new, and take advantage of everything WTB has to offer you."