Overcoming disabilities to compete in Warrior Games

Wounded warriors compete in volleyball for a spot to represent the Army in the 2012 Warrior Games. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

WASHINGTON – At Fort Meade, injured soldiers and Army veterans competed Monday for a spot in the Army Warrior Games.

Only 50 athletes will represent the army in the warrior games.

Bgd. Gen. Darrell Williams said athletes compete in seven sports including wheelchair volleyball and seated basketball.

“It gives people who think they’ve come to the end of the road a chance to compete again,” says Ret. Sgt. Christopher Ford. “Just because they’re injured, just because they’re hurt, just because they’re ill, life isn’t over, and your ability to be an athlete isn’t over.”

Ford was hurt in Iraq during his 2008-2009 deployment. He was injured while running from mortars.

“The Warrior Games is something awesome,” he says.

Each injured soldier or veteran is competing for one of 50 spots on the Army Warrior Games team for the 2012 competition in Colorado Springs, Colo. from April 30 to May 3.

“Just because you’re wounded doesn’t mean you have to sit in your room and ponder … what happened,” says Ret. Sgt. Robbie Gaupp.

Gaupp, who was shot in the shoulder in 2008, says the games are really more about showing how their abilities can overcome their disabilities.

Team members will be chosen at the end of the month.

The Warrior Games includes athletes from the Navy, Air Force, Marines and Special Operations.

More than 200 wounded, ill and injured servicemen and women and veterans will compete for the gold in archery, cycling, basketball, swimming, track and field and volleyball.

The games are hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee and supported by the U.S. Department of Defence, Department of Veteran Affairs, USO, Fisher House Foundation and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

The games were created in 2010 as an introduction to Paralympic sports for injured service members and veterans.

Watch video below of some of the veterans and wounded warriors competing for spots to represent the Army at the 2012 Warrior Games:

WTOP’s Andrew Mollenbeck contributed to this story. Follow Andrew and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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