ARLINGTON, Va. — Training for the 2021 Department of Defense Warrior Games has not only prepared Capt. Susan Patton to compete, but has also been instrumental in her personal fitness journey after an injury.
Patton is a powerlifter and a Soldier assigned to the Fort Hood Soldier Recovery Unit in Texas. Fitness is one of her biggest passions, but she struggled with it after her injury. She said that the Warrior Games are an excellent opportunity for service members to participate in a high-level competition and to not be defined by their injuries.
“Warrior Games has been just the thing to get me back on track toward my personal fitness,” Patton said. “It has also given me the opportunity to compete athletically and be part of a team again.”
Patton will represent Team Army in track, field, powerlifting and cycling events at the Warrior Games this September in Florida. Of those sports, powerlifting is her favorite in which to compete. Track also ranks high with her because she loves to run.
Fitness is something she relies on for spirit and strength. She credits training with helping her weather the COVID-19 pandemic, but that’s not the only time it has come in handy. Having a marathon on her calendar motivates her because she knows she must train and do the work. She’s finished 16 so far.
With Warrior Games right around the corner, Patton practices a regimen that includes training in the gym five to six days a week. On top of that, she runs, takes long bike rides and logs miles on a stationary bike. She can also be found on the court playing wheelchair basketball, on a yoga mat doing hot yoga or in a class working on her boxing skills.
“There’s definitely a variety in my training because there is a variety in my sports,” she said.
Patton is no stranger when it comes to team sports. She participated in them from grade school through her college years.
“I love being part of a team,” she said.
For Patton, it’s the best aspect of training, but it was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the Team Army experience is a little more virtual in nature. In fact, they have never assembled in person. Despite the ever-present obstacles, Patton said they communicate, post workouts and encourage each other. Regardless of the circumstances, they are still a team.
That doesn’t mean it has been easy. Patton trains by herself because she is the only Team Army athlete located at the Fort Hood SRU. She has the support of the SRU but wishes she could train with a team member.
Nonetheless, she encourages those who want to compete to pursue it.
“Do it,” Patton said. “Absolutely do it.”