FALLS CHURCH, Va. (NNS) -- Six hospital corpsmen will join 300 athletes this year in representing Team Navy at the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, June 1-9.
Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Joseph Paterniti, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Carlos Valerio, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Emmanuel Gonzalez, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Chris Alarcon, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Susan Guzowski and former Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jaime Garza Jr. will compete against some of the services' most resilient athletes.
"Each service member has different reasons for competing in this year's games, but each are bonded by the fact that they have overcome incredible odds to be here," said Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. "We are proud to have Navy Medicine Sailors representing Team Navy."
The Warrior Games were created in 2010 as a way to enhance the recovery efforts of wounded warriors through the use of adaptive sports. Eight teams will represent the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Special Operations Command, as well as the United Kingdom armed forces and the Australian defense force. This year marks the fourth annual Warrior Games since the DoD began managing the event, which was previously hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
"Preparing for the games provides me the opportunity to gain the strength to adapt to my new normal," said Valerio. "I enjoy helping fellow service members adapt to their new normal through sports and friendship."
Wounded-warrior athletes are comprised of active-duty personnel and veterans with upper-body, lower-body and spinal cord injuries, serious illnesses, traumatic brain injuries, visual impairment and post-traumatic stress. They will compete in a variety of competitions including cycling, archery, sitting volleyball, shooting, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball.
The Warrior Games are an important venue to showcase the incredible fighting spirit of the nation's wounded service members and honor the daily sacrifices they and their families make in defense of the nation. The games are also a way for the wounded-warrior athletes to develop lifelong friendships and mutual support with those who have endured similar challenges.
"These athletes are showing great resilience and fortitude in the sacrifices they made for this country," said Faison. "We wish them the very best of luck during the games."
Navy Medicine offers several avenues for service members to aid them in their rehabilitation journey. For more information on programs and services for injured service members, retirees and their families, please visit http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcphc/wounded-ill-and-injured/Pages/health-promotion.aspx or call (757) 953-0700.
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 personnel who provide health care support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Navy Medicine, visit www.navy.mil/local/mednews/.