Games proves not 'end of the world' for wounded Airman

  • Published
  • By David Vergun
  • Army News Service
"It felt like the end of the world," said Scott Palomino, describing what it was like after being wounded when a mortar round exploded in his tent at Balad Air Base, Iraq, in 2004.

Among his injuries was the loss of a leg, which was a serious blow to the El Paso, Texas, native who said he thrived on physical and athletic activities growing up, in college and in the Air Force.

Air Force caregivers and family members were with him through the recovery and he soon found out that sports and physical activities could still be a part of his life, despite having lost a leg.

"Sports, big time, got me back in shape," he said. "When you're in good shape, you're more mentally stable and mentally sound."

Years later he heard about the Warrior Games. He decided that this year, he'd give it a try, and is now competing in discus, shot put and running.

His mother and sister are in attendance at the games this week to cheer him on.

"They're very supportive," he said.

To get in top shape for the games, Palomino said he works out near his home in San Antonio at Alamo CrossFit four days a week.

Working out with him are four other wounded warriors retired from the Army, Air Force and Marines. "What service you're from doesn't matter," he said. "We were all on the battlefield and got wounded. We understand each other and bonded."

Besides using sports as therapy, Palomino hit the books, earning a college degree in social work. He now works at Lackland Air Force Base near his home, helping Airmen sort out their financial problems and also helping them to transition from military to civilian life. He also does community outreach work.

His advice to other wounded warriors: "Don't give up. Life's not over after you're injured. There are lots of things you can do. Anyone can do it."