By Reginald Rogers, Martin Army Community Hospital /
FORT BENNING, Ga. — Nearly 100 wounded, ill or injured active-duty Soldiers and veterans converged on Fort Benning’s Warrior Transition Battalion, Oct. 31 through Nov. 4, as the unit plays host to the 2016 U.S. Army Regional Health Command-Atlantic’s annual Warrior Games regional trials.
This will mark the second time in three years that Fort Benning has hosted the trials, which this year will feature athletes from Fort Stewart, Georgia, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Fort Drum, New York and Bethesda Army Medical Center, Maryland.
In 2015, the competition featured approximately 60 to 80 service members who participated in the four-day event.
According to Lt. Col. Bradford M. Shaw, Fort Benning’s Warrior Transition Battalion commander, adaptive sports can be an important part of the wounded warrior’s healing process.
“Participation in events like the Warrior Games builds the Soldiers confidence by providing them an avenue to explore within themselves, where there may have never been an opportunity for them before,” Shaw explained.
The event, which involves such qualifying events as track and field, air rifle, air pistol, cycling, swimming, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball, is part of the Warrior Transition Command’s adaptive reconditioning initiative.
This initiative highlights the emotional and physical needs of Warrior Transition Battalion Soldiers and veterans by allowing them to compete in events that meet their physical limitations.
The adaptive reconditioning initiative can be instrumental in the recovery process, Shaw said, in that it helps them to face many new challenges that their injuries may present.
“They have control of their destiny, as with any athlete, it’s the journey, then the results,” he said. “Sometimes the excitement of the journey supersedes the results, and that’s OK, because it prepares them for other life challenges to overcome as well.”
Competitors who excel in the qualifying events will advance to the 2017 Army Warrior Games at Fort Bliss, Texas in February 2017. Athletes who excel at the Army Warrior Games will go on to compete at the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Chicago, set for June 30 through July 8.
For more information, call the Warrior Transition Battalion Occupational Therapy Department at 706-626-2604 or 706-604-6637.