Warrior Games 2013: Personal Stories of Triumph

Photo: Warrior Games 2013: 50 AF wounded warriors test their mettle. U.S. Air Force photo illustration.

Warrior Games 2013: 50 AF wounded warriors test their mettle. U.S. Air Force photo illustration.

Warrior Games, a spirited competition that pits wounded , ill or injured service members and veterans against their representative services continues into its fourth year as teams converge on Colorado Springs, Colo., began May 11.

This year, 50 airmen or former airmen will compete in individual and team sports that include archery, cycling, shooting, swimming, track and field, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

Over the next two weeks you’ll get a close-up look at these warriors and the long road they’ve travelled from, in some cases death’s door, to becoming some of the premier wounded athletes in the country.

There’s the story of Katie Robinson, a former combat camera videographer who was shot in Iraq, and has worked through PTSD issues to compete in both swimming and track and field. Then there’s Darrell Fisher, a former senior airman who was seemingly killed and pronounced dead in a random shooting and went through an intense near death experience before a long road to recovery.

Staff Sgt. Lara Ishikawa tells the story of her fight against invasive mammary carcinoma. “It’s heart-wrenching,” Ishikawa said. “Nobody expects to get cancer, and I had no family history of it. I’ve always been very healthy and active, and I tried to take care of myself. It was a shock…” She, along with two other cancer survivors, will compete this year.

Then there is the story of Master Sgt. Paul Horton, an explosive ordnance disposal non-commissioned officer, who says he was always the unlucky one growing up and has been blown up on six different occasions to prove it. He tells his story of overcoming the odds each time and somehow turning potential tragedy into a series of learning experiences. Maybe he’s not so unlucky after all.

These stories and more will be highlighted over the next two weeks as warriors from all services come together to show their mettle and compete over six days and seven events. These stories will sometimes amaze you, sometimes pull at your heart strings, but in all cases show examples of turning tragedy into something much more positive.

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