By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andy Brame, Navy Public Affairs Support Element
CHICAGO (NNS) — Team Navy kicked off the annual Department of Defense Warrior Games June 30 in Chicago, Illinois, with competition in shooting, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.
Thirty-nine wounded warrior athletes are competing on behalf of Team Navy this year. They join approximately 225 service members from the other branches of the U.S. military, as well as the United Kingdom and Australia. The Warrior Games is an event that introduces wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans to Paralympic-style sports.
The Navy, in partnership with the city of Chicago, is hosting this year’s event. This year marks the first time the DoD Warrior Games have been held off a military installation. The Games demonstrate the incredible potential of wounded warriors through competitive sports and provides a tremendous healing power for athletes. The competition provides a means to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country.
Retired Aviation Electrician’s Mate Airman Steve Davis, an athlete competing for Team Navy, said that he loves being a part of the Games.
“I’m looking forward to representing my branch of service again and help give back to the program by sharing my story of recovery through sports,” said Davis. “Hopefully, I can help another brother or sister in their road to recovery as well.”
The Navy honors the sacrifices of wounded warriors from the Navy and Coast Guard by providing them non-medical support through Navy Wounded Warrior (NWW) – Safe Harbor program. All enrollees in NWW are encouraged to make athletics a key component of their recovery efforts. By promoting participation in competitions like the DoD Warrior Games, NWW helps enrollees heal through adaptive sports.
“It doesn’t matter if you are combat wounded, ill, injured – it doesn’t matter. We’re all in it the same and that’s what I love about this group,” said Davis. “It’s just been a great eye-opening experience falling back in love with the military, with my brothers and sisters. Even if it’s just for a week, feeling a part of the military again – it’s amazing.”
The Warrior Games run until July 8. The athletes will test their abilities in seven adaptive sports: archery, cycling, track and field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming and wheelchair basketball.
Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson will perform at the opening ceremony for the games at Soldier Field in Chicago, July 1. They will be dedicating their performances to honor those who have made life-altering sacrifices for their country. Comedian Jon Stewart will be the master of ceremonies for the event.
Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor is the Navy’s sole organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen and providing resources and support to their families. Through proactive leadership, the program provides individually-tailored assistance designed to optimize the success of the wounded warriors’ recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration activities.
To learn more about Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor, visit www.navywoundedwarrior.com.
For the latest on Team Navy, follow the Navy Live blog at http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/06/30/team-navy-competes-at-2017-dod-warrior-games.