Wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Special Operations Command are heading outside military recreation centers to reach their physical goals this week as they compete in the third annual Warrior Games, hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The Warrior Games, which began Monday and conclude on Saturday, was created by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Department of Defense to help elevate and emphasize the role of athletics in the recovery of wounded, ill and injured service members. Events include track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball. The final 50 athletes will participate in the events as part of one of the following injury categories: amputations, spinal cord injuries, visual impairment, traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Adaptive sports and reconditioning play a critical role in allowing our wounded, ill and injured soldiers to achieve their physical goals and build the confidence essential for success in the next phase of their lives, whether they return to the force or move on to civilian life,” Brig. Gen. Darryl Williams, commander of the Warrior Transition Command, said in a press release. “Warrior Games is an important element of the Army’s Warrior Care and Transition Program. We want to make sure soldiers heal in all dimensions of life—we focus on physical fitness just as much as career, emotional, social, spiritual and family goals.”
In addition to winners in each event, one participant will be crowned as Ultimate Champion. The services also will compete for the Chairman’s Cup, which will be awarded through a point system based on medals won and number of competitors.
Most of the Army athletes represent the 29 Warrior Transition Units around the country where wounded, ill and injured soldiers requiring at least six months of complex medical care are assigned for treatment and recovery.