Soldiers with traumatic brain injuries, TBI, post-traumatic stress and other combat injuries gathered in Colorado Springs on for the 2nd annual Warrior Games, from May 16 to May 21. The Warrior Games are an Olympic-based sports competition with a range of events including track and field, basketball and marksmanship. The Warrior Games provide a way for veterans from all branches of the military to engage in some friendly competition, but they also serve a deeper purpose: recovery. 198 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, many with traumatic brain injuries, participated in the games.
Therapists used to set limits on what veterans with TBI could do because they didn’t want the soldiers to get discouraged, according to Col. Barbara Springer, former chief if physical therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Now, therapists identify an area of interest to the veteran and help them participate in that activity. Being able to participate gives the veteran confidence and self-esteem.
For many wounded veterans, participation in the Warrior games is a life-changing experience. Ashley Chavez , 25, of Ohio, suffered a TBI and post-traumatic stress when her supply convoy was hit by an IED outside Baghdad in 2006. “This has changed my life both mentally and physically,” Chavez stated. “I know now that I can do anything. There may be stuff that I can’t do perfectly, but it doesn’t mean I can’t do it.”
If you or someone you know has suffered a TBI, a brain injury attorney can provide guidance.