HomeNewsArticle Display

Evolution of adaptive sports

U.S. Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso (far left), Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Personnel Services, stands several members of Team U.S. and Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden Jr. (kneeling center), 47th Vice President of the United States, at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29, 2017. The Invictus Games were established by Prince Harry of Wales in 2014, and have brought together wounded and injured veterans from 17 nations to compete across 12 adaptive sporting events. (Courtesy photo)

Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso (far left), Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Personnel Services, stands with several members of Team U.S. and Joe Biden Jr. (kneeling center), former Vice President of the United States, at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Sept. 29, 2017. The Invictus Games were established by Prince Harry of Wales in 2014, and brought together wounded and injured veterans from 17 nations to compete across 12 adaptive sporting events. (Courtesy photo)

TORONTO (AFNS) -- With the event coming to a close, thousands around the world turned their attention toward the 2017 Invictus Games, witnessing feats of incredible talent and hearing truly inspiring stories from world-class athletes.

The Invictus Games, established by Prince Harry of Wales in 2014, brought together wounded and injured military members and veterans from 17 nations to compete across 12 adaptive sporting events. More than 550 wounded, ill or injured athletes journeyed to Toronto for the competition, and military leaders did not trail far behind to demonstrate their continued support of these heroes.

“Being invited to the Invictus Games is a tremendous honor,” said Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Personnel Services. “Recognizing these incredible Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers representing the United States is truly humbling. We are letting them know how impactful what they are doing is for our nation, and that we stand firmly behind them, support them and believe in them.”

“These games are incredibly fun to watch and you can feel how much energy is packed into these venues; but for those of us representing leadership within the Department of Defense, we are also here to learn how to continue moving with adaptive sports programs and continuously improve our support for wounded warriors.”

Officials with the DoD announced in July that the Air Force would host the 2018 DoD Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 2018. Turning focus from the games to overarching program initiatives, Grosso spoke about the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, which is functionally aligned under the Air Force Warrior and Survivor Care Division and operationally managed by the Air Force Personnel Center.

“The testimonials we continue to hear from athletes who participate with the program and who have competed in previous years, or are competing now for the first time, shows us that the work we are doing has value and impact,” Grosso said. “Hearing people say how this program saved their life – the connection between adaptive sports and recovery has become increasingly evident. As military leaders, we aspire to have those who have served, and are still serving, to maintain that ability to thrive – especially those who have suffered from catastrophic injuries. Simply put, it is incredibly clear to me how instrumental these programs are in the recovery process for our nation’s warriors and their families.”

During her time here, Grosso had lunch with members of Team U.S. where attendees were ready to offer suggestions for next year’s competitions.

“Hearing their ideas for the evolution of the program was outstanding,” she said. “They want to see more of the adaptive sports featured here, at the 2018 Warrior Games – things like powerlifting, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis. They also suggested that every base have adaptive sports teams, which they believe would normalize the concept of adaptive sports. As a leader, it is difficult not to see the value in concepts like that; things that would foster trust, teamwork and cohesion. The question then becomes how to make ideas like that a standard practice across an entire service branch.”

Grosso acknowledged that type of growth can take time, but echoed sentiments shared by program participants.

“Our goal is to consistently evolve and outperform ourselves,” Grosso said. “Leaders managing these programs need to be as adaptive as these athletes are, and I can certainly speak for Air Force leadership when I say how committed we remain to taking care of every Airman.”

Grosso was proud to watch Team U.S. dominate throughout the portions of competition she witnessed.

“There is no other way to describe what I have seen here beyond inspiring,” she said. “This really does put life into perspective. You see these athletes persevering despite what they had to overcome, and it reminds us how fortunate we are to have amazing men and women of this caliber serving with us. I also want to add that it is no easy task assisting people through a crisis, so to my team down at AFPC I say thank you for the incredible work you do in helping our wounded, ill and injured Airmen. It is reassuring to know that our members have the most dedicated staff working with them as they navigate through their road to recovery.”

To learn more about the Air Force Wounded Warrior program, visit the AFPC public website.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: What an honor to accompany @SecAFOfficial on her first trip to meet our deployed #Airmen. Looking forward to introduci…
#USAF's 555th Fighter Squadron a.k.a the Triple Nickel and their F-16 Fighting Falcons recently deployed for the fi… https://t.co/0qCMua0WAi
RT @FedExField: Swearing-In Ceremony during the @Redskins #SaluteToService Game. 🇺🇸 https://t.co/pox97AAekX
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Watch USAFE-AFAFRICA Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Basham & @RoyalAirForce Air Marshal Gerry M. Mayhew explain why our strong U.…
RT @cmsaf18: “You (don’t) become a #leader by fighting your way to the top. Rather, you become a leader by helping others to the top.” - W…
RT @USAFCENT: SHARED COMMITMENT | The Commander of the Qatar Emiri Air Force, Staff MG Pilot Salem Bin Hamad Al-Nabet, met with Lt. Gen. Gu…
RT @HQ_AFMC: Our teams at the @AFResearchLab are forever #innovating ... even in the ways they approach problem solving! #creativity #Airme
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Let there be no mistake about our continued commitment to the region. I look forward to continuing the important dialo…
RT @DeptofDefense: A @usairforce airman w/the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, performs refuel training w/ROK Air Force F-16D Falcon during a…
RT @AFGlobalStrike: When you spend 24 hour alerts in the silo, it becomes a second home… Learn about how the 341st Force Support Squadron a…
.@GenDaveGoldfein engaged recruits this past #VeteransDay weekend, asking each why they chose to serve prior to con… https://t.co/vToX52rixv
RT @USAFCENT: DETERRENCE | Check out the view from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 as it refuels F-22 Raptors and U.S. Navy EA-18G Growlers over no…
RT @AFSpace: The Vandenberg Tracking Station is a remote station in Calif., operating w/in the Air Force Satellite Control Network. This st…
#Airmen at @CannonAFB_ rolled out a new smart toolkit to help improve productivity and overall efficiency for work… https://t.co/DFsNQqVDz8
As America’s top cover, ICBM operators have the Specialty Code of 13N, allowing #USAF to recognize these profession… https://t.co/G6aNX0FSLI
RT @USAFCENT: INTEROPERABILITY | A Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft refuels a USAF F-22 Raptor, Nove…
DYK - Pitch Day events are continuing @AFLCMC Nov. 13-14 in Dayton, Ohio. #USAF's Life Cycle Management Center is r… https://t.co/LH5XmKuVff
You'll want to add this one to your playlist. https://t.co/aZXefMZocR