News: Soldier takes shot at 2013 Warrior Games
Story by Sgt. Zachary Gardner
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – At 6 feet 3 inches tall, 270 pounds, he will throw shot put and discus for the Army during the 2013 Warrior Games. Sgt. Joshua Andrew’s greatest strength is not that he bench presses 400 pounds, it is his ability to bounce back.
Carrying a rucksack through the uneven terrain of Afghanistan began to take its toll on Andrew after nine months. And after dislocating his knee for the fifth time, Andrew was sent to Germany for further evaluation. When it was determined that he would need ongoing care for his injuries he was assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
At first, Andrew was unsure of his physical limitations and his future with the Army. Walking was hard. He could only go about 100 meters before he had to stop. So, he started setting goals for himself.
“While you’re in the WTB people start feeling… down,” said Andrew, a native of Castle Rock, Wash. “People are just waiting and aren’t very sure of what’s going on. There is a lot of self-inflicted stress and people just want to move past that. Competing and being a member of a team is huge for a lot of combat Soldiers.”
The Warrior Games showcase the best wounded, ill, and injured athletes from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Veterans Administration, and service members from the United Kingdom. The games offer competitors a way to regain confidence through overcoming obstacles associated with their malady.
“It’s been a tremendous release for him and has helped him deal with what he has gone through,” said Russ Vincent, Andrew’s throwing coach and head coach for the Mountlake Terrace High School track and field team. “He has a throwing background and this has allowed him to refocus on the positive aspects of his life.”
The Warrior Games feature adaptive sporting events, which are based on existing sports that are modified to meet the capabilities of disabled athletes, and non-adaptive sporting events that were created specifically for persons with disabilities, like wheelchair basketball.
“I’m very limited as far as what I can do because of my flexibility, said Andrew.” When I have the shot put or the discus, I can’t do the full range of motions needed for the normal throw. So, it’s all about how I adapt. You just have to continue forward in a different way.”
The 2013 Warrior Games are sponsored by the U.S. Olympic Committee and are scheduled for May 11-17. Events include archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball.