HomeNewsArticle Display

Academy rugby player returns to field as a coach

Cadet 2nd Class Marc Ward motions March 20 to Air Force Academy rugby players to move the ball down the field. Cadet Ward suffered a debilitating injury during a rugby game in 2003 in a game against the University of California at Berkeley. He lost full use of his right arm for six months, but has since made a full recovery and now coaches as part of the academy rugby team. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. John Ross)

Cadet 2nd Class Marc Ward motions March 20 to Air Force Academy rugby players to move the ball down the field. Cadet Ward suffered a debilitating injury during a rugby game in 2003 in a game against the University of California at Berkeley. He lost full use of his right arm for six months, but has since made a full recovery and now coaches as part of the academy rugby team. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. John Ross)

Cadet 2nd Class Marc Ward suffered a debilitating injury during a rugby game in 2003 in a game against the University of California at Berkeley. He lost full use of his right arm for six months, but has since made a full recovery and now coaches as part of the academy rugby team. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. John Ross)

Cadet 2nd Class Marc Ward suffered a debilitating injury during a rugby game in 2003 in a game against the University of California at Berkeley. He lost full use of his right arm for six months, but has since made a full recovery and now coaches as part of the academy rugby team. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. John Ross)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFNEWS) -- When Air Force Academy Cadet Marc Ward took to the rugby field against the University of California at Berkeley in May 2003, the freshman had no idea it might be his last time to play.

With about 18 minutes left in the first half of the game, Cadet Ward made a crushing hit on his opponent midway down the field. His own impact knocked him out for nearly nine minutes, rendering his right arm useless.

"I hit the guy with my neck exposed. He was 260 pounds and I was 195 pounds. I could move my fingers and my wrist. I couldn't drink a drink, it was pretty much useless.

"And then, six weeks later I was able to go like this," Cadet Ward said as he raised his arm about shoulder height.

"And slowly, six months later I was able to go like that," he said, showing a full range of motion in his arm. 

The injury was serious enough to put Cadet Ward on a medical convalescent status for two years. He was reinstated as a cadet in good standing June 1, 2005, and is now a junior.

As scary as the incident was, Cadet Ward remained in high spirits and contributes his attitude to his full recovery.

"When my injury came, I dealt with it pretty good I would say. I always knew I'd be able to move my arm again, despite what multiple doctors or anyone else told me, I always had the best outlook on life I guess. And I knew, no matter what, I would live a happy life," he said. 

After returning to the academy, Cadet Ward still wanted to play rugby but found that even after suffering his debilitating injury, he couldn't change his aggressive style of playing so he decided to hang up his cleats. 

Cadet Ward now heads out to the rugby pitch not as a player, but this time as a coach.

Rugby head coach Capt. John McQuede is comfortable with having Cadet Ward as a coach.

"Cadet Ward has been a tremendous savior for me. As someone just taking over a program, he was initially a player and decided he wanted to move into the coaching realm," he said. "He provides that sort of cadet link between me and the other cadet players."

It's leadership characteristics like the ones Cadet Ward demonstrates, that will lend themselves to his future Air Force career. 

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

Click here to view the comments/letters page

Engage

Twitter
“As an #AirForce, we need to create the best leaders so that our Airmen realize they can reach their full potential… https://t.co/Rk4LtjIzHl
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Recruiting, training & educating #Airmen requires force generators dedicated to their craft & to laying the foundation of o…
Twitter
AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo finalist The AFIMSC leadership team and Ventures Innovation Office picked 8 finalists to c… https://t.co/f78UDv6fYY
Twitter
RT @AirForceGaming: // TESTING COMPLETE // LOADING SEASON 001 Registration for Air Force Gaming League is now open! We're going gl…
Twitter
RT @AFGlobalStrike: Airmen across the command, including our Global Strike leadership, are taking the next step in the battle against COVID…
Twitter
One team one fight @366FW's Capt. Aaron Tindall is the 1st Airman to graduate from the @USNavy Airborne Electronic… https://t.co/mvfn30OnLP
Twitter
Give @GenCQBrownJr a follow for the latest on how he's leading the charge to accelerate change throughout the… https://t.co/LtDGcVwsKi
Twitter
Honoring a pioneer. Join us in celebrating the life and legacy of Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager live, noon EST. Live c… https://t.co/0aFqKjSWyO
Twitter
RT @CalGuard: Airmen from the Cal Guard's 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno are stepping up to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. #TheVirusStops
Twitter
Pilot Training Next For the 1st time in @AFSpecOpsCmd history, two new graduates from @AETCommand's Pilot Training… https://t.co/TPOIM1KDEl
Twitter
Celebrating service. @GenCQBrownJr and @SpaceForceCSO thanked @SecAFOfficial Barbara Barrett for her service duri… https://t.co/0uo2BGRrq9
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: The remarkable consistency, the universality, in the @USAirForce & @SpaceForceDoD is the goodness of our people. Every d…
Twitter
Providing strategic depth The @USAFReserve’s T-56-15A engine Centralized Repair Facility, supported by the 913th A… https://t.co/wGHrc7Zdid
Twitter
RT @USAfricaCommand: First members of AFRICOM vaccinated against #COVID19 "It doesn’t mean we can let up, doesn’t mean we can’t keep follo…
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Our AFMC essential Airmen continue to receive the first round of #COVID19 vaccines, with the latest at @HAFB and @RobinsAFB_GA
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you to all @USAirForce #Airmen & @SpaceForceDoD #Guardians for safeguarding our Nation and the principles that def…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Life has a way of throwing us curveballs. How we deal with those moments is part of who we are. How we help others deal…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,313,011
Follow Us