Wounded Warriors Unleash Potential Through Adaptive Sports

In keeping with the Warrior Care Month theme, Unleashing Unlimited Potential, wounded warriors recently participated in two special athletic events designed to remind them, and those around them, that a wound, illness or injury doesn’t have to slow a wounded warrior down.

On November 18, the Navy hosted a Wheelchair Basketball event at the Pentagon Athletic Center, including a clinic and a scrimmage game. Navy leadership, including COL John Mayer, Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment and Juan Garcia, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, joined in the fun by strapping themselves into wheelchairs and participating in the game.

Service members from all the Military Services, along with Juan Garcia ASN M&RA, participate in a Wheelchair Basketball event hosted by the Navy on November 18.

Speaking to the crowd at the conclusion of the scrimmage, Will Wilson, who manages the Warrior Athletic Reconditioning Program for the Navy, emphasized that wounded warriors want nothing more than to move ahead with their “new normal” and to show that they can still do everything they did before their wound, illness or injury—and sometimes more.

In addition to the Navy event, the Army’s Warrior Transition Command hosted a Seated Volleyball Clinic and Tournament on November 22, with teams comprised of wounded, ill and injured Service members from all the Military Services. Facilitating the clinic was Army veteran and Paralympic volleyball player Kari Miller, who lost both legs when her car was hit by a drunk driver in December of 1999.

Four teams played a round robin tournament with the Navy and Army meeting for the championship game, and the Navy emerging as the final victor.


The Army seated volleyball team warms up before a tournament hosted by WTC.

Adaptive sports and reconditioning activities such as wheelchair basketball and seated volleyball can play a major role in a warrior’s recovery and healing process. Benefits of physical activity include reduced stress, lower blood pressure, weight management, enhancement of the rehabilitative process and increased quality of life.

Through the Office of Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy’s Warrior Athletic Reconditioning Program (WARP), all Service members are provided with an opportunity to participate in recreational activities and competitive athletic opportunities, helping to improve their physical and mental quality of life throughout their recovery.

Participating in adaptive sports and reconditioning programs also allows Service members to enjoy the camaraderie of a team and find a new place to put their warrior ethos to work.