News: Two soldiers, one goal: Represent the Army in 2013 Warrior Games
Story by Staff Sgt. Emily Anderson
FORT BELVOIR, Va. - The Warrior Games showcases the resilient spirit of today's wounded, ill, and injured service members from all branches of the military. After overcoming significant physical and behavioral injuries, these men and women demonstrate the power of ability over disability and the spirit of competition.
One suffered from a left shoulder injury, the other is recovering from a leg injury, but both have the same plan … to represent the Army in the 2013 Warrior Games.
“I’m looking forward to everything with Warrior Games because the level of play is off the charts,” said SPC Andrew Schaffercouncil, Warrior Transition Unit (WTU), Fort Carson, Colorado. “They give me something to strive for.”
Schaffercouncil is continuing his efforts to earn a spot on the Army’s Warrior Games team by attending the cycling, shooting, and swimming happening at Fort Bliss, Texas, and El Paso, Texas, March 4-11.
“I use to think I was a decent swimmer until I attended the previous swimming camps, but now I know what I have to work on for the trials,” he added.
In 2012, Schaffercouncil was medically evacuated from Afghanistan, but he has not let that stop him from setting new goals.
“The WTU is really great with helping me to adapt and get back to finding a sense of normalcy, and adaptive sports help me keep focus on the now,” he said.
The cycling, shooting, and swimming trials follow the archery and track, field trials hosted by the Warrior Transition Command at Fort Belvoir, VA, February 25-March 1.
“I couldn’t see myself doing anything except sitting at home, but Warrior Games has given me the chance to really compete again,” said Army Veteran Chad Mcduffee, who was injured in 2006 when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle in a province near Baghdad, Iraq.
After originally being misdiagnosed, Mcduffee received a necessary surgery for his leg injury in 2011. Despite the injury, he found a new attitude in life stating, “Again, I have something to work toward, and this has given me a new outlook.”
“Before I found out about adaptive sports I was kind of depressed.” said Mcduffee, who if selected will compete in the sitting discuss and sitting shot put competitions. “I’ve always been very competitive and wanted to beat everyone in everything, so when I was injured I thought all of that was over.”
Mcduffee, who retired as a staff sergeant after 11 years of service, carries a kettle bell named “Beyonce” to help strengthen his throwing arm during competitions.
“When I first learned about Warrior Games, I looked at last year’s scores and knew that’s what I had to beat,” Mcduffee said. “With the help of Beyonce, I’ve practiced, and now I’m throwing better than the person who won gold last year.”
Mcduffee also plans to attend the U.S. Paralympics Endeavor Games in June and hopes to participate in the next Paralympics.
“I want nothing more than to wear the red, white, and blue and serve my country again,” he said.
For more Army Warrior Games coverage, visit the WTC Road to Warrior Games page.