Warrior Games selection camp concludes for AF

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes
  • Defense Media Activity
More than 25 active-duty, retired and separated Airmen competed for a spot on the Air Force team in the 2012 Warrior Games during a selection camp March 25-30 here.

The Warrior Games, now in its third year, was designed to introduce disabled veterans to Paralympic sports. The Airmen selected for the team will compete in seven sports - wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, archery, swimming, track and field, shooting and cycling -- against members from all branches of service.

"The goal of the Warrior Games is to assist wounded veterans in getting back to normalcy -- instilling in them goals and aspirations through sports," said Maj. (Dr.) James Bales, the head coach for the Air Force team and member of the World Class Athlete program as a triathlete.

This year's team is nearly a 50/50 mix of veteran players and rookies. Their disabilities range from post-traumatic stress disorder to traumatic brain injury, quadriplegia, kidney disease and leg amputation.

"This year we have a great crew of new people who are willing to try different sports, and I think that's a real testament to the new group," said Cami Stock, the assistant coach for the Air Force Warrior Games team, who has been with the team for three years.

During the camp, the athletes were able to experiment with different sports. At the end of the week, they worked with the coaches to see which events they have to most potential in and how their abilities can best benefit the team overall.

Stock said the team is already beginning to gel and showing a lot of promise in team sports. There are also a few members who have tried sports like archery for the first time who are showing a lot of potential.

The Air Force coaches said they are excited about how the team is coming together.

"We've seen a huge degree of motivation," Bales said. "A lot of athletes (are) working with, not only their coaches, but amongst themselves. I've just seen a lot of effort. I'm excited with what we have to work with here."

There will be a training camp the week before the games, which will be held at the U.S. Air Force Academy April 30 through May 5 here.