• Sat. Sep 24th, 2022

Road to recovery on display this weekend at the Warrior Games event

ByMary M. Ward

Aug 20, 2022

Ukrainian service member Oleksiy Babchynets and Ukrainian head coach Olena Ianovska participate in track and field practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports, Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Fla. during the 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games on Friday August 19. 2022. (Alexander Johnson/US Army)

(Tribune News Service) – The Department of Defense Warrior Games event begins this weekend at Walt Disney World at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Warrior Games competitors, representing all branches of the U.S. military service and Special Operations Command, will demonstrate their skills at the Walt Disney World Resort, including retired Central Florida veterans Andrew Blackburn and Mark Coltrain.

The events showcase the physical skills and mental toughness of the wounded, ill and injured active duty and veterans.

Twelve sports at the event will include archery, cycling (road and time trial), shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, athletics, wheelchair basketball wheelchair rugby, indoor rowing, powerlifting and golf as an exhibition.

The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Command will have their own team during the competition.

Members of Team SOCOM practice wheelchair basketball for the 2022 Department of Defense Warriors Games on August 18, 2022 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

Members of Team SOCOM practice wheelchair basketball for the 2022 Department of Defense Warriors Games on August 18, 2022 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. (George M. Bell/US Navy)

U.S. Army veteran Joshua Olson, left, meets with Lt. Gen. Scott Dingle Aug. 19, 2022, after on-court training for the Army team at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, in Florida at the 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games.

U.S. Army veteran Joshua Olson, left, meets with Lt. Gen. Scott Dingle Aug. 19, 2022, after on-court training for the Army team at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, in Florida during the 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games. (PJ Siquig/US Army)

“The Warrior Games uses the power of adaptive sports to support the recovery journey of these wounded, ill and injured service members and their families,” said Madison Bonzo, Department of Defense spokesperson for the Warrior Games. “Each athlete has a unique personal recovery journey that has led them to represent their branch of service and come together with other warrior athletes at the Warrior Games. Although competition is an important part of the Warrior Games, the heart and determination of each of these athletes is what makes this event so significant.

The athletic abilities displayed by veterans are part of this unique event, but there is a much deeper meaning.

“It’s an opportunity to see hundreds of athletes from the United States and international countries come together to bring their dedication to adaptive sports, their commitment to recovery, and their mutual support for life,” Bonzo said. “Through adaptive sports, we are seeing real-time recovery for these athletes and their families. It’s inspiring to see what drives these athletes to keep pushing for their loved ones, their respective teams and their own personal recoveries.

The Warrior Games event enables recovery for attendees, and it also enables recovery for their loved ones.

“The excitement surrounding this year’s Warrior Games competition is unlike any other. After three years of preparation, these athletes have finally come together and are ready to compete,” said David Paschal, director of the Department of Defense Warrior Games. “Most importantly, they support each other and their families as they each use the power of adaptive sports as part of their recovery journey. We are honored to host the Warrior Games and to provide this opportunity to nearly 300 Warrior athletes and their families, friends and loved ones.

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