“When I learned about the Warrior Games, it gave me hope again.”

By MaryTherese GriffinJune 28, 2024

2022 Warrior Games
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Spc. Darnell Boynton raises his hand and repeats the oath of enlistment while re-enlisting during the 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, Aug. 24, 2022. Boynton, promoted to specialist earlier this month, decided to have his re-enlistment ceremony during this year’s Warrior Games, which sees service members and veterans from across the DoD competing in a variety of adaptive sports alongside armed forces athletes from Canada and Ukraine. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Quince Lanford) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Quince Lanford) VIEW ORIGINAL
2024 DOD Warrior Games
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army veteran Darnell Boynton winds up to throw the discus at field practice during the 2024 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, June 25, 2024. Special Operations Command, and representatives from the Australian Defence Force are competing in adaptive sports including archery, cycling, indoor-rowing, powerlifting, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track, field, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby from June 21 – 30, at the Walt Disney World Resort. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Charles M. Bailey) (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Charles Bailey) VIEW ORIGINAL

ORLANDO, Fla., -- U.S. Army Spc. Darnell Boynton of the Georgia National Guard had a very active sports life before he injured his knee, tearing his ACL and meniscus before his demobilization in July of 2021.

"I got to the Fort Stewart (Georgia) Soldier Recovery Unit in October of 2021 and had surgery in December,” explained Boynton. The SRU was terrific. I knew nothing about the SRU. It's very much needed when Soldiers need care. “

Boynton, an all-wheel diesel mechanic, wasn’t used to slowing down or sitting still. “I've been around sports my whole life,” he said. “I was very active, always moving around, and after my surgery it brought me down. I suffered.”

He turned his suffering into triumph with adaptive sports at the SRU and is now on Team Army for the second time in three years. Being here is a massive victory for him.

“When I learned about the Warrior Games, it gave me hope again, and for the record, when I got my MRI, the doctor told me I would never run again or play sports, and here I am, wholly healed,” said Boynton. “My leg is good, and I can run again.”

Through adaptive sports, proper coaching, and the will to take his life back, Boynton is a return-to-duty Soldier and proud of his time and progress at the SRU. “As soon as I leave here, I gotta get back to turning wrenches,” he said with a big smile.

Getting to a second Warrior Games is the confidence he shares with anyone trying out for any sport. He said it may not always go how you want, but never give up.

“Back in 2022, I didn’t place or medal but did better than I thought I would do,” he added. “I was able to train since then, and here I am two years later, invited back to represent Team Army. I’m happy I am here to show what I can do and prove to people that you don’t quit! Just keep going, and you’ll have another chance to show who you are.”

Boynton’s favorite sport to compete in is track, but he said being here at the games is much more than the sporting competition. “It’s the people,” he said. “It’s not even the games. It’s the people, the athletes, the staff, the energy, the vibes … It’s not just the Army; it’s all the athletes in all the services. They are why I reenlisted at the last Warrior Games in 2022.”

As, one of the best supporters for his teammates, Boynton, loves to poke fun at his brethren in the other services competing and is not shy about it.

“They should’ve chosen the Army so they can be on a winning team, too!” he teased.