By MaryTherese GriffinNovember 13, 2019
A year ago I didn't know Warrior Games existed
By MaryTherese Griffin, U.S. Warrior Care and Transition
FORT BRAGG, N.C., - Petroleum specialist Sgt. Matthew Berryhill never imagined he'd be trying out to be on Team Army for the 2020 Department of Defense Warrior Games in San Antonio, Texas next September. In fact, a year ago he never knew they existed.
"That's the good thing about the Warrior Transition Battalion, they introduced me to Warrior Games and this is a cool opportunity!" It's an unexpected opportunity for the Indiana native who admits he is new to all of this recover and overcome business.
"I didn't even know what the Warrior Transition Battalion was until I got to Fort Drum. They were amazing," said Berryhill who was assigned to the WTB at Fort Drum, New York in April of this year.
When he was stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia, his unit was on a training exercise in Germany back in 2016. Berryhill was involved in a rollover accident in a petroleum truck.
"I was in a convoy and our driver missed a turn, it was cloudy and the next thing you know we rolled over about a 30 foot drop." Berryhill knew he was hurt, but took a few days of rest and ibuprofen then got back to work.
In time he realized how hurt he truly was from the accident. "I've lost arch support in booth feet, I have planter fasciitis, which affects my knees due to lack of balance and my lumbar spine was pretty messed up along with my rotator cuff." This put him in a sad place because he couldn't do things he used to. "Just dealing with the injuries is the biggest hurdle because I have two young kids at home and I can't play with them and do the normal dad things. The help I received at the WTB through therapy has helped me maneuver better and even a little quicker with my kids," said Berryhill.
Learning how to compete for a spot on Team Army has introduced him to more Soldiers just like him who are also helping his recovery progress. "I'm learning a lot. Resiliency for sure. For the longest time I went downhill and was, quiet and kept to myself, but finding out how others deal with that different type of stuff... It's given me new insight and if they can do it, I can do it." Berryhill hopes his shooting skills in archery and pistol will help him earn a spot on Team Army this year.
Berryhill learned he is not able to return to duty and he is okay with that after eight years of service. He understands readiness and doesn't want to hold the Army back. "I plan on going back to school to become either a dental hygienist or an orthodontist and move my family back to Indiana," said Berryhill.
"My wife was nervous at first because military life is all we've known, but now that she sees the WTB setting us up for success she feels better!" Berryhill himself feels better about his new normal recognizing the silver lining.
"Every duty station I've ever been to I've been gone 85% of the time. I never got to be there for them it was always phone calls and videos, but now I'm getting that family time back and making new memories, thanks to the WTB."
And thanks to the WTB, he is now a contender for a spot on Team Army, something he knows he would cherish.