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Civilian coaches in awe of wounded warrior athletes

April 12, 2012 | By victoriaholmes
Returning for the second time as Warrior Games track and field coaches, Teri Jordan (Navy Safe Harbor) and Brittany Hinchcliffe (
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that exposed her to the strength and buoyancy of wounded warrior athletes. “These guys are just, wow!” said Teri. “I see how they take their challenge and don’t see it as a challenge anymore. They are living with it, dealing with it and moving forward.” While she doesn’t get to train with her athletes in person regularly, Teri stays on top of training by sending weight lifting and running workouts for the warriors to work on independently. Her team will compete against the other Services in events including the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 1500 meter dash track events, as well as the shot put and discus field events. Teri isn’t only inspired by the wounded warrior athletes as their coach, but she says, “It’s an inspiration to see changes in their lives…they’re your athlete, but also your friend.” She is looking forward to watching her friends bring home even more medals than last year. In fact, doubling the medals is her goal. “I’m very optimistic,” Teri said.  Coach Brittany Hinchcliffe, Shot put and Discus – Wounded Warrior Regiment The tenacity and natural talent of those competing for the Wounded Warrior Regiment shot put and discus team is what has Coach Brittany Hinchcliffe stating, “This program is a coach’s dream come true.” Brittany, a former collegiate competitor and Olympic hopeful in the hammer throw, says that she has vast coaching experience, but working with wounded, ill and injured Service members is a completely different culture coming from civilian life. [caption id="attachment_3946" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Coach Brittany Hinchcliffe assists a wounded warrior athlete during the 2012 Marine Corps Warrior Games Trials, which were held in February."]
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“The athletes take direction so well and are so willing to try new things,” she said. “They have no fear and civilians struggle with that.” The shot put and discus competitions require Brittany to coach both standing and seated throwers – an adaptation made in the Warrior Games so that athletes are competing against people with similar abilities. Though sometimes, the boundaries set by these classifications are wiped out because the athletes are just that incredible, Brittany said. She cited the story of one of the team’s seated throwers who would have placed in the top five for the standing category in last year’s competition. In addition to ensuring the athletes are confident in their ability whether they are in a wheelchair or visually impaired, keeping communication open has also been important for Brittany’s team as they train all over the country. The distance doesn’t seem to be a problem, though as Brittany says she has to “rein them in instead of motivating them.” Brittany’s work doesn’t stop between the trials and actual games. She handles equipment needs, contacts local facilities about availability, and also takes advantage of new technology to provide long-distance coaching. For example, her athletes videotape their training sessions and upload the videos to YouTube for her review and feedback. Despite what level or classification her athletes compete at, Brittany says she sees improvement all around. “I’ve seen it over and over again. I witness athletes talking about limitations and surgeries switch to future goals and forward thinking,“ she said. “There are a lot of reconditioning programs but to really see something come together that shows a change in people – is incredible.”
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