ARLINGTON, Va. - Team Army athletes jumped into the virtual realm recently to meet up with one of their biggest fans. Comedian Jon Stewart, who traditionally hosts opening night for the annual Warrior Games, decided to continue his tradition of greeting athletes individually, with a video call.
Warrior Games 2020, scheduled for September, was cancelled due to the global pandemic. The games are an annual Paralympic-style event in which wounded, ill or injured service members face off with their sister services along with international teams, in twelve different sports.
And while the competition is fierce, Warrior Games is also a time when competitors from every team bond over shared experiences, whether triumph or tragedy. A common answer competitors give as the number one benefit that comes from the games, is comradery and lifelong friendships.
Soldiers from all over the country joined the online meeting while running errands, barbecuing in their backyard, working out in their home gym or swimming with the family. Jon said he was calling in from his attic during a thunder storm, and with that the conversation began.
Many of the Soldiers described how the Army Recovery Care Program had introduced them to adaptive sports, and how, through adaptive sports, they had begun to recover both physically and mentally.
Joel Rodriguez, a long-time Wheel Chair Rugby player, described how his competitive spirit was revived through events like Warrior Games. Rodriguez plays and coaches Wheel Chair Rugby in his personal life, where he is a member of a local league. Rodriguez’ wife and son can be found by his side at every game and are a familiar sight on the circuit.
High spirits were evident throughout the call with teammates laughing and joking, even as they shared sobering moments from their personal journey.
Jon Stewart described how important these interactions are for him, “Right now, it’s about staying connected. It is truly my honor to spend time with the men and woman who fight just as hard to come back from illness or injuries as they do in service to this country.”
Note: Army Recovery Care Program provides quality complex case management to the Army’s wounded, ill and injured Soldiers. https://www.dvidshub.net/news/356708/army-recovery-care-program-different-name-mission-same
Adaptive reconditioning is part of the Army Recovery Care Program, Adaptive reconditioning programs provide activities and sports that help wounded, ill and injured Soldiers to optimize their wellbeing, achieve their goals and return to active lifestyles. Through these virtual programs, Soldiers can continue classes and programs and try new ones. During the COVID-19 pandemic, an average of 350 AR activities are offered at 14 SRUs across the country every week.