The Warrior Games

This week starting September 21 to September 28th the Department of Defense Warrior Games will begin. The Warrior Games began in 2010 for sick or wounded service members to compete in team and Olympic sporting competitions. The Warrior Games were unfortunately canceled last year due to Covid-19 in San Antonio Texas but is back this year.

These are games of triumph and resilience for wounded service members. As stated by the Warrior Games official site, “After overcoming significant injuries and illnesses these athletes prove that life can continue after becoming wounded, ill, and injured”. These games include events such as powerlifting, wheelchair basketball, and many more competitive games. This has become an annual event like the Olympic games and has a new location each year.

2012 Gold Medal Wheelchair basketball team in the Warrior Games.
(Photo Credit; U.S. Army)

Now, who can compete in the DoD Warrior Games? This competition is for wounded, ill, or injured service members of any branch of the United States Military. Prior to any service member being allowed to compete, you had to be enrolled in the Wounded Warriors program. This program provides “non-medical” care to seriously ill or injured Post-9/11 service members. These games give injured service members a way to keep ties close to their service and have some unity in their lives.

Every year around 300 service members have competed and registered for these games since 2018. Many people come out and root on their loved ones and fellow service members during these games. The Warrior Games are free to the public for viewing in the location of the games. There is more than just the games to view during this heroic event. Other events include aircraft displays, limited base tours, and many more experiences in the United States Military world.

Sgt. Blake Johnson dives into a pool during the Army Trials on Fort Bliss, Texas, during the end of March. He earned bronze medals in the 50-meter freestyle, 50-meter backstroke, and 100-meter freestyle and earned the right to compete in the Department of… (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

Every athlete who has competed in the Warrior Games has a lot of pride and is an honorable person who should be recognized. A person to highlight who has competed in these games is Sgt. Blake Johnson who participated in the 2015 games. Johnson competed in air rifle, shot put, discus, wheelchair track, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, and swimming. Before entering the games Sgt. Johnson served five years in the United States Army and continues to serve after these games. Johnson stated that these games made him more resilient and did not allow an injury to affect his service or identity.

The Warrior Games are a great event that gives a platform for these injured service members to represent their service and rehabilitate their injuries. A way of showing your support or displaying the courage you may have gave for our country is to wear earned purple heart morale patches. If you or a loved one has a purple heart patch like the Combat Wounded Square Patch don’t be afraid to display at these games that showcase the resillience these wounded warriors obtain.

Combat Wounded Square Patch
Combat Wounded Square Patch is an honor to service members who were wounded in active service.

The Department of Defense Warrior Games is a great event that has become a part of the United States Military tradition. This annual event is meant to show the resilience and fight that active service members obtain within their represented branches. Injuries are a part of your service and they do not defy your character. These games show that being injured, ill, or wounded does not defeat or take away anything a service member has done in their service.