PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) -- The roster of wounded warrior athletes representing Team Navy/Coast Guard at the 2012 Warrior Games was announced March 17 during a sports camp at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Port Hueneme, Calif.
"We have assembled an impressive group of young men and women, and we expect Team Navy/Coast Guard to make a tremendous impact at the Warrior Games this year," said Navy Capt. Bernie Carter, director of Navy Safe Harbor, the Navy and Coast Guard's support program for seriously wounded, ill, and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen.
This year, Navy Safe Harbor once again coordinated wounded warrior athlete tryouts and team selection; in the coming weeks, it also will organize additional training and the team's participation in the Games.
"It is our sincere hope that the Warrior Games will inspire our wounded warrior athletes to maximize their abilities both on and off the playing field, and to reach for productive futures," Carter added.
The sports camp at NBVC took place March 16 - 18 and brought together for the first time virtually all members of this year's Team Navy/Coast Guard. They took part in an intense training regimen to polish their skills and increase their endurance in advance of the Games. The camp also built team unity and afforded the athletes an opportunity to compete while observed by an elite coaching staff.
"I knew I had to put the past behind me and move forward; you are all my inspiration," said Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Tyler Burdick when addressing his teammates at the camp. Burdick was wounded in combat in 2010.
During the camp, the wounded warrior athletes received a warm welcome from NBVC leadership, including the new commanding officer, Capt. Lawrence Vasquez and his chief of staff, Capt. David Sasek, as well as Naval Operations Support Center Port Hueneme Commanding Officer Capt. Ronald Oswald. In addition, Oxnard, Calif. Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Irene Pinkard presented the team with a plaque and a key to the city.
"Just watching everyone adapt and overcome their hardships is astounding," said retired Coast Guard Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Michael Bell about his fellow teammates. Bell was diagnosed with a serious illness in 2007.
The third annual Warrior Games - which is presented by Deloitte and hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee - takes place April 30 to May 5, 2012. It is an athletic competition among 200 wounded, ill, and injured service members from all branches of the U.S. military, and it is supported by Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, United Service Organizations (USO), Fisher House Foundation, and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
"We all know that our injuries are paper cuts, that we are more than lucky," said Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Redmond Ramos, referring to himself and other single-leg, below-the-knee amputees on the team. Ramos was wounded in combat in 2011.
Team Navy/Coast Guard includes service members with upper-body injuries, lower-body injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, visual impairment, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
At the 2012 Warrior Games, the wounded warrior athletes will compete in archery, wheelchair basketball, cycling, shooting, swimming, track and field, and sitting volleyball. In addition to winners in each event, there will be an Ultimate Champion competition in a pentathlon format, as well as a Chairman's Cup award for the top-performing service branch.
At the 2011 Warrior Games, Team Navy/Coast Guard earned a total of 27 medals, including 11 gold medals.
"My traumatic brain injury got me out [of the service], but everything else healed perfectly. I'm ready to rock at the Warrior Games," said retired Navy Lt. John Edmonston, who was injured in a motorcycle accident in 2009.
The most current team roster is available online at http://safeharbor.navylive.dodlive.mil/for-life/adaptive-athletics/2012-warrior-games/.
To learn more about Navy Safe Harbor and its adaptive athletic reconditioning program, visit www.safeharbor.navylive.dodlive.mil, call 877-746-8563, or email email@example.com.
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp/.