FORT BRAGG, N.C. – U.S. Army Sgt. Nichole Crane, from the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Soldier Recovery Unit, didn't recognize the impact that archery would have on her life or the power of this adaptive sport.
Crane, who is participating in different events during the U.S. Army Trials at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, said archery is now one of her favorite sports.
“It helps me to focus on what is in front of me,” she said.
As Crane prepared to shoot the arrow, she focused her breathing to get the perfect shot.
Deliberate breathing did not come easy for Crane, however; her openness and the response of the recovery specialists have proved quite beneficial as they have taught her different techniques that are working for her, she said.
One of the things that Crane said she likes about the Army Recovery Care Program is that she was able to receive one-on-one coaching from the specialists who showed up during her archery practices.
“Competing here has been a personal goal for me after ending up in JBLM for behavioral health,” Crane said.
Trying the different sports and being told that she was pretty good encouraged her to keep going and compete, she said.
Crane said she believes that it would be a good deal for her to make it to Warrior Games 2022.
“I think I did ok," Crane said about her first archery match. "We were kind of making adjustments on the go, but it was fun. I was just more or less having fun. This has been relaxing for me because I get to focus specifically on the target. I don't have to think about all these other thoughts coming in."
Having struggled in the past with accepting failures, in moving forward, Crane said she is excited about the tools she is receiving through the ARCP that will benefit her now and in the future.
Due to the help she has been receiving, she said she has been able to accept what she has done and focus on the next thing.
“They are teaching me how to focus on literally what’s in front of me, one specific thing at a time,” Crane said.
Because of the impact that this sport has had on her, Crane has decided to purchase archery equipment.
“I am definitely planning to take the skills from here, especially archery," Crane said. "I even told my husband I am going to purchase a bow, and he said 'let’s do it' because this has helped me to calm down a lot."
Crane gives credit to her SRU, which has been amazing to work with, she said.
“I was talking to (my husband) two weeks ago, and he said you sound different; you don't sound wound up or stressed out; you are kind of just relaxed," Crane said.
U.S. Army veteran Jessie White, a former Army Trials athlete and current archery coach of eight years, attests to this.
“They don't have a choice," he said. "(Archery) allows that relaxation because the brain is not going crazy. They are focusing on what they are doing and not all the other stuff that’s going on around them. You will see that someone who was irritated before, when they come on the archery range and start shooting, there is just that calming effect, and they are focused and more relaxed."
This year’s U. S. Army Trials at Fort Bragg, from May 4 to 9, provided ill and injured active-duty Soldiers across the country the opportunity to compete and a chance to represent Team Army at the DOD Warrior games from August 16 to 29 in Orlando, Florida.
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