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Nearly 100 wounded, ill or injured active-duty Soldiers and veterans are expected to converge on Fort Benning's Warrior Transition Battalion, Oct. 31 through Nov. 4, as the unit plays host to the 2016 U.S. Army Regional Health Command-Atlantic's annual Warrior Games Regional Trials.
This year marks the second time within three years that Fort Benning has hosted the trials, which will also feature athletes from Fort Stewart, Georgia, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Fort Bragg, North Carolina., Fort Jackson, South Carolina., Fort Belvoir, Virginia., Fort Drum, New York and Bethesda Army Medical Center, Maryland.
In 2015, the competition featured approximately 60 to 80 service members who participated in the four-day event.
According to Lt. Col. Bradford M. Shaw, Fort Benning's WTB Commander, adaptive sports are an important part of the wounded warriors healing process because the wounded warriors are able to become limitless with their abilities.
"Participation in events like the Warrior Games builds the Soldiers confidence by providing them an avenue to explore within themselves, where there may have never been an opportunity for them before," Shaw explained.
He added that the adaptive reconditioning initiative is instrumental in the recovery process and it helps them to face many challenges that their injuries may present.
"They have control of their destiny, as with any athlete, it's the journey, then the results. Sometimes the excitement of the journey supersedes the results, and that's ok, because it prepares them for other life challenges to overcome as well," he said.
The event, which features qualifying events such as track and field, air rifle, air pistol, cycling, swimming, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball, is designed as part of Warrior Transition Command's adaptive reconditioning initiative. This initiative highlights the emotional and physical needs of WTB Soldiers and veterans by allowing them to compete in events that meet their physical limitations.
Competitors who excel in the respective events will advance to the 2017 U.S. Army Warrior Games at Fort Bliss, Texas in February 2017.
Following the Army Warrior Games, athletes who are considered among the Army's best competitors will travel to Chicago to compete in the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games, set for June 30 through July 8.
For more information, call the Warrior Transition Battalion Occupational Therapy Department at 706-626-2604 or 706-604-6637.