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Category Archives: Wounded Warrior

“The Unsung Heroes of the Warrior Games”

As the 2019 Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games started June 21, athletes have been testing their strengths and endurance. A total of 40 Sailors and Coast Guardsmen, who advanced to the DoD level in March as part of the Navy Wounded Warrior–Safe Harbor program, are in the Team Navy.

Behind the scenes, another test takes place; it’s about family, love, care and commitment. The ones who stick together are “The Unsung Heroes of the Warrior Games.”

 

The Warrior Games not only bring the best warriors together to compete; the games also provide support services and resources for their families.

The Warrior Games will conclude June 30 with a closing ceremony.

For the latest news about the DoD Warrior Games, visit dodwarriorgames.com where you can watch games live, and follow the Team Navy on Navy Wounded Warrior–Safe Harbor’s Facebook page.

Families and Caregivers: Essential element in athletes’ recovery and rehabilitation

The 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games have been an opportunity for families and caregivers of wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans to share common experiences and celebrate the accomplishments of their service members and families in overcoming adversity and thriving.

Thirty-nine athletes competed June 30 to July 8 on behalf of Team Navy in the Warrior Games – a Paralympic-style competition in Chicago for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans.

U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Brame

Team Navy is comprised of athletes from Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor, the Navy’s sole organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill, and injured Sailors and Coast Guard members, providing resources and support to their families.

 

Service Dogs: More than Man’s Best Friend for Team Navy Athletes

Dogs are often called man’s best friend.

For Team Navy athletes at the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games, their service dogs are more than that.

In this video, athletes and their families explain why the dogs are a big part of the athletes themselves and also the team.

 

U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mike DiMestico

Thirty-nine Team Navy athletes competed June 30 to July 8 in the Warrior Games, a Paralympic-style competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

Team Navy is comprised of athletes from Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor, the Navy’s sole organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill, and injured Sailors and Coast Guard members, providing resources and support to their families.

 

Adaptive Sports: Life Changing and Life Saving

Thirty-nine Team Navy athletes are competing in the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Chicago.

The Paralympic-style competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans includes archery, cycling, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and wheelchair basketball.

While the athletes are competing for gold, the adaptive sports and the Games are about more than just winning. For some, the experience has been life changing and life saving.

U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Brame

Approximately 265 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and U.S. Special Operations Command, as well as the United Kingdom Armed Forces and the Australian Defence Force are competing until July 8 in Chicago.

Team Navy Competes at 2017 DOD Warrior Games

Welcome to Navy Live blog coverage of Team Navy at the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Chicago.

Team Navy is comprised of 36 Sailors and four Coast Guardsmen who are competing June 30 to July 8 against other military teams to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in archery, cycling, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and wheelchair basketball.

This is first time the Navy has hosted the Games and the first time for the Games is being held in a public venue since the DoD became involved in hosting the Games in 2010.

Follow this blog throughout the Games for the latest on Team Navy.

About Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program

The mission of the Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program is to deliver year-round competitive and recreation opportunities for wounded, ill or seriously injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen. Adaptive sports — athletic activities that are modified to meet the abilities of injured or ill individuals — are essential to the recuperation of our wounded warriors. All enrollees in Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor are encouraged to make athletics a key component of their recovery and rehabilitation plans. The proven and lasting benefits of adaptive sports and reconditioning activities include higher self-esteem, lower stress levels and fewer secondary medical conditions.

Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor hosts a series of adaptive athletic reconditioning camps, provides information relative to recreational opportunities and facilitates enrollees’ participation in the annual Department of Defense Warrior Games. Non-medical care managers and recovery care coordinators, along with the transition coordinators, are encouraged to brief all recovering and transitioning service members about adaptive sports opportunities.

Once registered for the sports program, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen are provided with information on all athletic opportunities, including the annual trials where athletes can compete for a spot on Team Navy in the DoD Warrior Games. Participants in the trials include active-duty service members and veterans with upper-body, lower-body and spinal cord injuries; serious illnesses; traumatic brain injuries; amputations; visual impairment; and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Athletes possessing professionalism, team spirit and the best qualifying times and/or scores are selected to compete on Team Navy in the DoD Warrior Games. The DoD Warrior Games represent the culmination of participation in structured adaptive sports and reconditioning activities of wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans throughout their recovery by encouraging participation in physical and cognitive activities, inspiring physical fitness, mental strength and peer support, and encouraging new opportunities for growth and achievement.

 

 

2017 DoD Warrior Games: Recognizing Hidden Heroes

By Vice Adm. Mary Jackson
Commander, Navy Installations Command

While the Warrior Games are primarily focused on the athletes and their challenging experiences and inspiring accomplishments, we also acknowledge and recognize the tremendous dedication and support of the “hidden heroes” – spouses, family and caregivers who have made their own sacrifices to help our warrior athletes with their recovery and athletic successes.

Ida Malone, left, helps her husband, Navy Chief Petty Officer Averill Malone, stretch before bicycling during the Navy’s training camp for the 2015 DoD Warrior Games at Ventura County Naval Station Port Hueneme in Oxnard, Calif., May 31, 2015. Ida is also a caregiver for her husband, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. (Dept. of Defense photo by EJ Hersom/Released)
Ida Malone, left, helps her husband, Navy Chief Petty Officer Averill Malone, stretch before bicycling during the Navy’s training camp for the 2015 DoD Warrior Games at Ventura County Naval Station Port Hueneme in Oxnard, Calif., May 31, 2015. Ida is also a caregiver for her husband, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. (Dept. of Defense photo by EJ Hersom/Released)

On this Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we honor our Wounded Warriors’ loved ones who partner and make their own sacrifices on the path of recovery.

For our warrior athletes, our hidden heroes put forth a tremendous amount of effort behind the scenes, day-in and day-out, to support the growth and progress of their loved one’s spiritual and physical healing. Transition is not easy, but these individuals are the co-pilots who make the voyage possible and so much smoother.

Families and caregivers are an essential element in an athlete’s recovery and rehabilitation, and they are an important part of the DoD’s adaptive sports program, which provides reconditioning activities and competitive athletic opportunities to all wounded, ill and injured service members to improve their physical and mental quality of life throughout the continuum of recovery and transition. Our hidden heroes provide support, encouragement and motivation on a regular basis. In turn, athletes motivate their families, caregivers and teammates, and inspire their communities.

We are thankful to Fisher House Foundation, one of the 2017 Warrior Games presenting sponsors, for supporting our hidden heroes. Fisher House is our family program sponsor and is directly supporting the logistics for athletes’ families to attend the Warrior Games.

Coast Guard Lt. Sancho Johnson’s son helps his father out of a tight spot while on a bike ride for the Navy’s wounded warrior training camp for the 2015 DoD Warrior Games along the Pacific Coast Highway in California, May 30, 2015. (Dept. of Defense photo by EJ Hersom/Released)
Coast Guard Lt. Sancho Johnson’s son helps his father out of a tight spot while on a bike ride for the Navy’s wounded warrior training camp for the 2015 DoD Warrior Games along the Pacific Coast Highway in California, May 30, 2015. (Dept. of Defense photo by EJ Hersom/Released)

To spouses and loved ones of our military members and of our wounded, ill or injured warriors, we say, “Thank you” for all you do. We are humbled by your commitment and dedication to serving your nation in this important role.

For more information about the DoD’s adaptive sports program visit, http://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/carecoordination/masp.

For more information about the Warrior Games, please visit http://dodwarriorgames.com and be sure to “like” us and follow the games
on Facebook.

2017 DoD Warrior Games: 90 Days and Counting!

By Vice Adm. Mary Jackson
Commander, Navy Installations Command

The 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games are around the corner, just 90 days away!

As the newest commander for our Navy’s 71 installations under 11 regions worldwide, I am responsible for our mission of sustaining the fleet, enabling our Sailors and supporting their families, which involves the Navy’s quality of life activities, including the Navy’s Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor program. I’m honored now to be a part of the awesome collaboration and coordination with the City of Chicago where the Warrior Games will be held this summer.

CHICAGO (April 4, 2017) Vice Adm. Mary M. Jackson, commander of Navy Installations Command, speaks to local veteran and military service organizations during the 90 Days to Warrior Games Reception at the Union League Club of Chicago. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Derek Paumen/Released)
CHICAGO (April 4, 2017) Vice Adm. Mary M. Jackson, commander of Navy Installations Command, speaks to local veteran and military service organizations during the 90 Days to Warrior Games Reception at the Union League Club of Chicago. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Derek Paumen/Released)

 

From June  30 through July 8, 2017, the Warrior Games will take place at several premier venues in downtown Chicago, such as the United Center, McCormick Place Convention Center, and Soldier Field, to name a few. This is the first time the Games will be held entirely outside of a military installation or a U.S. Olympic Training Center. As we bring the 2017 Games to a wider public audience, we need your help to spread the word.

This week I had the distinct privilege of visiting Chicago to meet with the Warrior Games host committee, presenting sponsors for the Games – Boeing and Fisher House – and many other key stakeholders from the city, to recognize the countdown to the Games. The commitment and willingness of so many who are eager to help produce a successful event for our athletes and their families this summer is truly remarkable.

While I was reminded during my visit that there is still much work to be done as we push forward to the opening ceremony, I was energized by the spirit and enthusiasm of all those who care and are ready to assist, whether through the contribution of sponsorship or through volunteer opportunities. I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to work with the many professionals on so many levels. I’m proud of the efforts that have already been made and am confident that over the next 90 days we’ll continue to accomplish many more signature achievements.

The most rewarding part of my visit to Chicago, however, was the chance to meet and speak with several wounded warriors.

A. J. Mohammad is a combat-wounded Sailor who served in Iraq. His injuries include post-traumatic stress, visual impairment, a traumatic brain injury, hearing loss, facial paralysis and orthopedic injuries. A. J. now excels in archery and cycling.

WASHINGTON (Oct 11, 2016) Vice Adm. Dixon Smith, then commander of Navy Installations Command, rides in front as a “pilot” on a tandem bicycle with retired Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Adrian “AJ” Mohammad during a 17-mile fun ride that started and ended at the Washington, D.C.’s historic Navy Yard. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Marissa A. Cruz/Released)
WASHINGTON (Oct 11, 2016) Vice Adm. Dixon Smith, then commander of Navy Installations Command, rides in front as a “pilot” on a tandem bicycle with retired Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Adrian “AJ” Mohammad during a 17-mile fun ride that started and ended at the Washington, D.C.’s historic Navy Yard. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Marissa A. Cruz/Released)

 

R. J. Anderson is a soldier who was severely injured in a motorcycle accident. He was told he could never walk again. R.J. is now a wheelchair basketball player and excels in hand-cycling.

Ryan Shannon is a Navy veteran who was injured during an accident aboard a submarine while on active duty. He suffered traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress and paralysis of his left foot. He now shines in track and field, sitting volleyball and swimming.

These athletes have amazing stories to tell, and their powerful messages are sure to inspire us all. They each emphasize the power of adaptive sports and how their participation literally saved their lives and their families.

The resounding theme in all of this is the healing power of adaptive sports in a wounded warrior’s recovery. The ability to compete through events like the Warrior Games gives wounded warriors hope where they once felt there was none. Over and over again I heard the power of sport provides a catalyst to start living again, and the positive impacts it has not only on the individual, but on their families.

More than 250 wounded, ill or injured athletes are expected to participate in this year’s Warrior Games. Services are hosting their trials to identify which athletes will have the opportunity to compete, and we expect those teams to be announced very soon.

As we count down to the Warrior Games, I am asking all service members, military veterans, friends, family and supporters to learn more about this powerful program and what it means to those who have sacrificed so much. Please spread the word about adaptive sports, become an advocate for a wounded warrior today, and come out and join me in cheering on our amazing athletes this summer in Chicago!

For more information about the Warrior Games, the schedule of events and other details, visit dodwarriorgames.com and follow the Games on Facebook.

Veterans and Wounded Warriors: An inspiration to us all

By Vice Adm. Dixon Smith
Commander, Navy Installations Command

This past weekend, I had the distinct privilege of representing our Navy in the city of Chicago for Veterans Day. This was my first opportunity to really take in all that the city has to offer, and it is clear to me that the decision to host the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games there next summer was the right choice.

Vice Adm. Dixon Smith discusses the 2017 Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games during an interview with ABC7 in Chicago. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
Vice Adm. Dixon Smith discusses the 2017 Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games during an interview with ABC7 in Chicago. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Throughout the day, I met with veterans, city officials, business leaders and local news media representatives, where I found the energy and enthusiasm to be truly inspiring. Equally energizing was the opportunity to discuss the 2017 Warrior Games at Veterans Day events at the historic Navy Pier and Soldier Field. I had the opportunity to conduct several media engagements, both television and radio, where my goal was to ensure the citizens of Chicago knew when and where to be to support our wounded heroes during the event next summer.

One wounded warrior I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the past few months, A.J. Mohammed, attended the events. Every time I speak with him I’m reminded of how important the Wounded Warrior program and the DoD Warrior Games truly are. Following his tour of duty in Iraq in 2004, he returned home visually impaired. Integrating back into society was a challenge and doing anything in public became difficult, to the point where he never left the house. Several individuals reached out to let him know of the Navy’s wounded warrior and adaptive sports programs, and dedicated their time to help A.J. get back on his feet. The commitment of friends and family to help him find his way, combined with the ability to participate in adaptive sports, as he put it, ‘saved’ him. He will be one of the many warriors to compete for a spot on the Navy team next summer.

These wounded warriors will showcase their athletic prowess at several key Chicago landmarks next summer, including Soldier Field, McCormick Place Convention Center, the United Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Lane Tech Academy. Plans are well underway and we are committed to providing an awesome and rewarding experience for the athletes and their families.

Members of the public from far and wide are encouraged to attend the Games to see and get to know these inspiring athletes who have given so much on our behalf. Their stories will leave you in awe, and they deserve our utmost respect.

U.S. Navy Chief Gunner's Mate Jeannette Tarqueno, an athlete with Team Navy, prepares to dive into a pool during a swimming competition inside Arvin Gym at the U.S. Military Academy located in West Point, New York as part of the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games, June 20. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kiona Miller/Released)
U.S. Navy Chief Gunner’s Mate Jeannette Tarqueno, an athlete with Team Navy, prepares to dive into a pool during a swimming competition inside Arvin Gym at the U.S. Military Academy located in West Point, New York as part of the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games, June 20. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kiona Miller/Released)

In order to host the most rewarding experience possible for our athletes and their families, we must work together with many partners. Just this last week, we received word that Boeing and Fisher House Foundation will be our presenting sponsors, which is great news. Without them, the games would not be possible.

The DoD Warrior Games will be held June 30 through July 8, 2017, and information about the event is available now on our website. We’ll continue to update information there as plans solidify.

In closing, as we head into the holiday season and give thanks for the many blessings we have, please take a moment to remember our veterans and wounded warriors for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our nation, today and every day. They are an inspiration to us all.

Editor’s note: Neither the Navy nor the federal government endorses any business, products or services.