JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii, Jan. 7, 2014 (AFNS) – Thirty Air Force wounded warriors will face off against 90 other athletes during the first Wounded Warrior Pacific Invitational hosted by Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Jan. 8-10.
The week-long event will be the largest joint-service competition to take place outside of the annual Warrior Games.
“The goal of the Wounded Warrior Pacific Invitational isn’t necessarily to identify the most skilled athletes, but rather to showcase the incredible potential of wounded warriors through competitive sports,” said Tony Jasso, Air Force Wounded Warrior Adapted Sports Program manager.
The Wounded Warrior Pacific Invitational is one in a series of adaptive athletic events leading up to the 2014 Warrior Games, an annual competition among wounded warriors from all branches of military service.
The Pacific Invitational will be an Olympic-style competition in which the activities are modified to meet the abilities of the warriors, and is open to service members with upper-body, lower-body and spinal cord injuries, serious illnesses, traumatic brain injuries, visual impairment and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The athletes will train for two days prior to competing in cycling, seated volleyball, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball events.
According to Jasso, adaptive athletic reconditioning helps wounded warriors build strength and endurance while drawing inspiration from their teammates.
“Fitness and teamwork are a way of life in the military,” he said. “Serious illness or injury can profoundly impact that way of life, often confining a service member to a hospital bed and significantly altering his or her physical capabilities. Adaptive athletic reconditioning is proven to have positive and lasting effects on recovering service members’ physical and emotional wellbeing.”
Jasso said adaptive athletic reconditioning also helps the athletes having greater self-esteem, lower stress levels and fewer secondary medical conditions.
“The competition will be a chance for the wounded warriors to showcase their abilities and share their stories of recovery,” he said. “It’s also a chance to increase awareness of the programs and services available to seriously wounded, ill and injured service members and their families while educating the public on the value of adaptive athletic reconditioning and the healing power of sports.”