GULF BREEZE, Fla. - The U.S. Special Operations Command’s Care Coalition recently hosted a training camp for more than 40 wounded, ill and injured Special Operations service members who have been selected to participate in upcoming national and international athletic events.
USSOCOM athletes will join competitors from 14 nations in the Invictus games, in London, Sept. 7- 15. Invictus will be followed by the Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., Sept. 22 – Oct. 4. More than 200 wounded service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Special Operations will participate in the Games, which will be held at the Olympic Training Facility.
As part of the Military Adaptive Sport Program, the goal of these events is to promote physical reconditioning and skill development, including teamwork and self-reliance, within the contest of paralympic sports.
"The MASP is an opportunity for a lot of us that have been injured and wounded overseas to have the camaraderie that we had in the service and also a chance to improve our physical well-being,” said Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Smith, who has completed three deployments to Afghanistan and is assigned to the 6th Military Information Support Battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C. “I’m able to interact with other veterans in a positive environment in which our physical and mental health are significantly improved through participation,” he added.
Invictus and Warrior Games bring together wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans across the nation and around the world to attest that individuals can recover from serious injury and lead fulfilling, productive and inspiring lives.
"They're entering a new stage of their recovery. Once they're past therapy and comfortable with their new life, their new challenges, they come out here and press the limits of where they can go now," said Army Maj. Anthony Gonzalez, USSOCOM military adaptive sports program manager.
The USSOCOM’s Care Coalition adaptive sports program is part of Department of Defense’s effort to promote adaptive sports and reconditioning opportunities for service members and veterans. In partnership with benevolent organizations, the athletes have participated in a variety of training events to prepare for a variety of sports such as cycling, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, archery, shooting, track and field, and swimming.