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Wounded warriors adapt, overcome at Andrews sports camp

Staff Sgt. Alexander Tonic, from the 32nd Intelligence Squadronat Fort Meade, Md., draws back a compound bow at the archery range at Joint Base Andrews, Md., June 26, 2013. Tonic is a participant in an Air Force Wounded Warriors Adaptive Sports Camp, a program designed to help Air Force warriors get back in the game of life through physical activity. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Aaron Stout)

Staff Sgt. Alexander Tonic draws back a compound bow at the archery range June 26, 2013, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Tonic is a participant in an Air Force Wounded Warriors Adaptive Sports Camp, a program designed to help Air Force warriors get back in the game of life through physical activity. Tonic is from the 32nd Intelligence Squadron, Fort Meade, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Aaron Stout)

Retired Staff Sgt. Kevin Taylor demonstrates the use of a compound bow as a mentor at an Air Force Wounded Warriors Adaptive Sports Camp at Joint Base Andrews, Md., June 26, 2013. Taylor and the other mentors helped the class instructor provide preliminary archery instruction to participating Air Force Wounded Warriors during the two-day sports camp. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Aaron Stout)

Retired Staff Sgt. Kevin Taylor demonstrates the use of a compound bow as a mentor at an Air Force Wounded Warriors Adaptive Sports Camp June 26, 2013, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Taylor and the other mentors helped the class instructor provide preliminary archery instruction to participating Air Force wounded warriors during the two-day sports camp. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Aaron Stout)

Wounded Warriors learn to play wheelchair basketball during an Air Force Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports Training Camp at the West Fitness Center at Joint Base Andrews, Md., June 26, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Lauren Main)

Wounded Warriors learn to play wheelchair basketball during an Air Force Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports Training Camp June 26, 2013, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Lauren Main)

Wounded Warriors learn to play wheelchair basketball during an Air Force Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports Training Camp at the West Fitness Center at Joint Base Andrews, Md., June 26, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Lauren Main)

Wounded warriors learn to play wheelchair basketball during an Air Force Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports Training Camp June 26, 2013, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Lauren Main)

U.S. Air Force Wounded Warriors participate in the Track and Field Experience during the Air Force Warrior Adaptive Sports Camp at Joint Base Andrews, Md., June 26, 2013. The camp was intended to introduce the warriors to adaptive sports during their early stages of recovery. Thirty eight warriors participated in activities including swimming, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, golf, archery and track and field. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin O’Shea)

Air Force wounded warriors participate in the track and field experience during the Air Force Warrior Adaptive Sports Camp June 26, 2013, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The camp was intended to introduce the warriors to adaptive sports during their early stages of recovery. Thirty-eight warriors participated in activities including swimming, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, golf, archery and track and field. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin O’Shea)

U.S. Air Force Wounded Warriors participate in the Track and Field Experience during the Air Force Warrior Adaptive Sports Camp at Joint Base Andrews, Md., June 26, 2013. The camp was intended to introduce the warriors to adaptive sports during their early stages of recovery. Thirty eight warriors participated in activities including swimming, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, golf, archery and track and field. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin O’Shea)

Air Force wounded warriors participate in the track and field experience during the Air Force Warrior Adaptive Sports Camp June 26, 2013, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The camp was intended to introduce the warriors to adaptive sports during their early stages of recovery. Thirty-eight warriors participated in activities including swimming, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, golf, archery and track and field. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin O’Shea)

An Air Force Wounded Warrior practices swimming techniques during the Air Force Warrior Adaptive Sports Camp at Joint Base Andrews, Md., June 26, 2013. The camp was intended to introduce the warriors to adaptive sports during their early stages of recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin O’Shea)

An Air Force wounded warrior practices swimming techniques during the Air Force Warrior Adaptive Sports Camp June 26, 2013, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The camp was intended to introduce the warriors to adaptive sports during their early stages of recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin O’Shea)

Kari Miller, U.S. Woman’s Sitting Volleyball Paralympic athlete and two-time silver medalist, teaches Senior Airman Michael Napier, 633rd Medical Dental Support Squadron patient member from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. how to block at the Joint Base Andrews West Fitness Center, Md., June 27, 2013. Miller, a former Army veteran coached Air Force Wounded Warriors on the fundamentals of sitting volleyball.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Kari Miller, a U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Paralympic athlete and two-time silver medalist, teaches Senior Airman Michael Napier how to block June 27, 2013, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Miller, an Army veteran, coached Air Force wounded warriors on the fundamentals of sitting volleyball.Napier is a 633rd Medical Dental Support Squadron patient member from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Airman 1st Class Haley Gilbraith, 315th Training Squadron imagery analyst from Goodfellow Air Force Base, Tx. laughs with coach during an Air Force Wounded Warrior Sports Camp sitting volleyball clinic at the Joint Base Andrews West Fitness Center, Md., June 27, 2013.  The camp included sporting events such as wheelchair basketball, archery, swimming, air rifle/pistol shooting, and track and field. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Airman 1st Class Haley Gilbraith laughs with a coach during an Air Force Wounded Warrior Sports Camp sitting volleyball clinic June 27, 2013, at the Joint Base Andrews, Md. The camp included sporting events such as wheelchair basketball, archery, swimming, air rifle/pistol shooting,and track and field. Gilbraith is an imagery analyst assigned to the 315th Training Squadron at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Capt. Sarah Evans, 59th Medical Wing patient learns the fundamentals of sitting volleyball at an Air Force Wounded Warrior Sports Camp Clinic at the Joint Base Andrews West Fitness Center, Md., June 27, 2013.  More than 30 Air Force Wounded Warriors attended the two-day adaptive sports camp of wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, archery, swimming, air rifle/pistol shooting and track and field, designed to help them overcome their challenges and enjoy a physically active lifestyle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)
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Capt. Sarah Evans learns the fundamentals of sitting volleyball at an Air Force Wounded Warrior Sports Camp Clinic June 27, 2013, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. More than 30 Air Force wounded warriors attended the two-day adaptive sports camp of wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, archery, swimming, air rifle/pistol shooting and track and field, designed to help them overcome their challenges and enjoy a physically active lifestyle. Evans is a patient assigned to the 59th Medical Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Kari Miller, U.S. Woman’s Sitting Volleyball Paralympic athlete and two-time silver medalist, teaches Air Force veteran Joshina Holmes, right, how to spike volleyball at an Air Force Wounded Warrior Sports Camp Clinic at the Joint Base Andrews West Fitness Center, Md., June 27, 2013.  The camp included sporting events such as wheelchair basketball, archery, swimming, air rifle/pistol shooting, and track and field. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)
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Kari Miller, a U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Paralympic athlete and two-time silver medalist, teaches Air Force veteran Joshina Holmes (right) how to spike volleyball at an Air Force Wounded Warrior Sports Camp Clinic June 27, 2013, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The camp included sporting events such as wheelchair basketball, archery, swimming, air rifle/pistol shooting, and track and field. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) -- More than 30 Air Force wounded warriors gathered here June 26, to kick off a two-day adaptive sports camp designed to help them overcome challenges and enjoy a physically active lifestyle.

This was the first Air Force Wounded Warriors Adaptive Sports Camp, held especially for the patients at here and at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., where Airmen are healing and learning to adapt to the new realities of their lives.

"These heroes have had their lives turned upside down as a result of combat or other injuries and health issues they have encountered," said Tony Jasso, the Air Force Wounded Warrior adaptive sports program manager. "As part of the Air Force's Wounded Warrior Program, this sports camp is intended to introduce adaptive sports during the earliest stages of recovery for our service members."

Sports like wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, archery, swimming, air rifle/pistol shooting and track, and field help keep them active; something Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Thomas Travis, the Surgeon General of the Air Force, said is essential to wellness.

"These activities are a way to get you back into the game, to improve your quality of life and help you get on with your recovery," Travis told the wounded warriors during the opening ceremony. "Your attitude and self-confidence has more to do with your wellbeing than you may think."

Travis stressed the importance of the Wounded Warrior program as the Airmen make the sometimes complicated transition back to work in the Air Force or into civilian life.

"Caring for Airmen is what we do -- It's the reason we're here," he said. "Health should be a part of everybody's mission."

The Air Force Wounded Warrior program helps with more than the physical aspect of adjustment, and the assistance doesn't stop after the warrior's enlistment ends. The program works hand-in-hand with the Air Force Survivor Assistance Program and Airman and family readiness centers to ensure Airmen receive professional support and care from the point of injury through separation or retirement, for life.

Advocates from the program work with Airmen to ensure they receive face-to-face, personalized services possible and even provide professional services such as transition assistance, employment assistance, moving assistance, financial counseling, information and referral, and emergency financial assistance.

For more information on the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, visit http://www.woundedwarrior.af.mil/

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