Staff Sgt. Dorian Rhoten: No More ‘Broken Soldiers Without a Purpose’ Thanks to ARCP
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Retired Staff Sgt. Dorian Rhoten throws a shot put at the Air Force Academy in May 2018. (Photo courtesy of Dorian Rhoten) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Warrior Games
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dorian Rhoten, a Team Army competitor, gives a motivational speech, Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 2, 2018. The DoD Warrior Games is an adaptive sports competition for wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans. Approximately 300 athletes representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Command, United Kingdom Armed Forces, Canadian Armed Forces, and the Australian Defence Force will compete June 1 - June 9 in archery, cycling, track, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, and - new this year - powerlifting and indoor rowing. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kalie Frantz) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Kalie Frantz) VIEW ORIGINAL

By MaryTherese Griffin

ARLINGTON, Va. — It’s been about 15 years since retired Staff Sgt. Dorian Rhoten, Jr., suffered injuries to his back and knees from an improvised explosive device that landed him in what is now the Fort Hood Soldier Recovery Unit (SRU) in Texas.

In the time since, he’s watched the Army Recovery Care Program evolve — and he remains thankful the Army had a program to help Soldiers like him recover and overcome.

“What surprised me most is the eagerness and enjoyment some command and cadre personnel had, [and] just seeing what the programs and activities did for Soldiers’ physical as well as mental health,” Rhoten said. “The wounded felt as [though] they were a Soldier again, instead of broken Soldiers without a purpose.”

After his injury, Rhoten found a new purpose: competing. It was an obvious choice for the former football player, who spent many years playing arena football and hopes to one day be inducted into the semi-pro Hall of Fame.

At Fort Hood, working toward building his body back was part of the recovery process. “Sports competitions help me because it takes your mind to a happy place,” he said “Sports allow us to forget all that happened and get back to the things we love most.”

Those he loves the most, his family, watch closely as dad brings home the medals.

“In all that I have done, my greatest thing I feel is gaining a world ranking in shot put, discus, and javelin as a competitor in USATF (USA Track and Field) — and I have held my rankings for five consecutive years,” he said, noting that the best part of those achievements is watching his son and daughter also compete. They qualified for the 2021 junior Olympics and his son now holds a national ranking in all his throwing events.

Rhoten competed in the 2017 and 2018 Army Trials and received medals in shot put, discus, and hand-cycling. He also competed in Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2018, and served as a co-captain as well. Today, he credits the path he took at the Army Recovery Unit with his physical, mental and spiritual health improvement.

“One thing I have learned about myself through this whole process is I have yet to reach my full potential of competitiveness,” he said. “While in the military I earned four college degrees, an honorary doctorate in divinity and [am] ordained as a minister. You gave all the years of sacrifice to the military, now all you need to do is put the same effort and energy into yourself.”

Today, Rhoten puts that energy into shaping youth as a special education training coach at Washburn Rural High School in Topeka, Kansas. “What I love most about this is helping these students feel equal,” he said. “I sure know what it was like to struggle with that.”

The Army Warrior Care and Transition Program is now the Army Recovery Care Program. Although the name has changed, the mission remains the same: to provide quality complex case management to the Army's wounded, ill and injured Soldiers. Visit our website at https://arcp.army.mil