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    Soldier at Army Trials happy with cross-fit; healing arts

    Army Trials at Fort Bliss

    Photo By Ronald Wolf | U.S. Army 1st Lt. Chris Parks (right) Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Hood, Texas, is...... read more read more



    Story by Ronald Wolf 

    Army Recovery Care Program

    FORT BLISS, Texas – In 2015, when he competed in the Army Trials at Fort Bliss, Texas, 1st Lt. Christopher Parks made it clear that participating at the U.S. Army Trials meant something special to him. He was grateful for a second chance at life after an injury where he lost his leg and nearly his life.

    Parks returned to Fort Bliss to prepare for the 2016 U.S. Army Trials. He isn’t guaranteed a spot on the team, but his focus remains on team building and the opportunity to help mentor athletes who are trying out for the first time.

    Parks is assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Hood and resides with his family near Fort Hood.

    More than 100 wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and veterans came to Fort Bliss March 6-10 to train and compete in a series of athletic events including archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball. Parks trained in almost all events except running; he feels most comfortable playing wheelchair basketball and swimming.

    The Army Trials were conducted by the Army Warrior Transition Command and will help determine who will get a spot on the 2016 Army Team for the DoD Warrior Games. Approximately 250 athletes, representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Command and the British Armed Forces will compete in the DoD Warrior Games June 14-22 at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

    Parks talked about the value of the cross-fit training that was added to the training regimen. Two hours per day of cross-fit were added, he said, strength and muscle toning in one session and flexibility in another. The cross-fit training cut some practice time from individual sports, but Parks was confident the Army team was still being well prepared.

    A professional cross-fit trainer was added to the coaching staff, improving fitness options for team members who have muscle injuries or permanent muscle damage. Parks felt the adaptive reconditioning program at his WTU had grown by “leaps and bounds.” The program helps them to spread their experience to help fellow Soldiers in transition at the WTU.

    “The Adaptive Reconditioning Program has enabled me to get back into the game and be something like the athlete I was before I was injured,” he said. “I have developed long term and hopefully lifelong relationships with my fellow wounded warriors.”

    He also mentioned value of the healing arts, which is one of the adaptive reconditioning programs outside of athletic competition. The healing arts program focuses on using art therapy, particularly for Soldiers who have sustained a traumatic brain injury or have behavioral health issues, to express and communicate their emotions through art. The healing arts program was first developed at the National Intrepid Center for Excellence, at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

    Parks reported the healing arts were often the first step that gets Soldiers at the WTU “out of their rooms” and interacting with other Soldiers at the WTU.

    Parks hopes to make the Army team for the DoD Warrior Games and has already been selected to be a member of the U.S. team for the Invictus Games to be held in Orlando, Florida, May 8-13.

    “My short term goal is to effectively transition to the civilian sector after retirement, while continuing to challenge myself in many Paralympic events and competitions,” he said. “I just recently was given a new prosthetic and am hoping to learn how to run on a blade prosthetic.”

    Parks mentioned that one of his chief goals remained setting an example for his kids. An injury isn’t going to stop him, and he wants them to see that.



    Date Taken: 03.15.2016
    Date Posted: 03.15.2016 16:27
    Story ID: 192473
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US 

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