To emphasize the role of athletics in recovery of wounded, ill and injured service members, Warrior Games, a competition hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Paralympic Military Program, Colorado Springs, Colo, will be May 16 to 21.
More than 200 wounded, ill and injured athletes from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Special Operations Command will compete for gold in shooting, swimming, archery, sitting volleyball, cycling, track and field, and wheelchair basketball.
As part of the Paralympic Military Program, physical therapists and medical providers look for ways to incorporate adaptive sports into soldiers’ treatment and recovery plans. Currently, 9.7% of soldiers assigned to WTUs were wounded in combat; however, 87% previously served in combat at some point in their military careers.
Warrior Games is one element of the Army’s Warrior Care and Transition Program. Each athlete will participate in one of the following injury categories: amputations, spinal cord injuries, visual impairment, traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (including cerebral palsy and stroke).
The majority of the army athletes will represent the 29 Warrior Transition Units (WTU) around the country where wounded, ill, and injured soldiers requiring at least six months of complex medical care are assigned for treatment. The soldiers develop a personalized comprehensive transition plan with short- and long-term goals in six domains: physical, social, spiritual, emotional, family, and career.
Photo at right: SGT Jerrod Fields sprints around the track as part of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program