The Department of Defense “Warrior Games” is a competition for all the branches in the military that assists the wounded warriors in their transition from military life to regular life. With some of the injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries, and lost limbs, the Warrior Games has become a healthy and fun environment where the men and women who served this country could still have the opportunity to participate in a program, even in their new way of life.
The Warrior Games have grown since their launch in 2010. They now have many trial games in specific regions of the United States for veterans to participate in and try out for the Warrior Games.
For team sports, each branch gives the military men and women the option of trying out for either wheelchair basketball or sitting volleyball. Linda Gomez, Warner University’s Assistant Men’s Volleyball Coach, is the head coach for sitting volleyball for the U.S. Army.
“I’m the sitting volleyball liaison for the Florida region of U.S.A. Volleyball, and I attended a regional trials in North Carolina. There were so many people who came out for the event and that got me thinking about what I could do for the people here in Florida,” said Gomez.
Because Warner is centrally located in the state, it has an advantage for participants and their travel times.
Gomez received permission from Warner’s athletic director to use the campus athletic center to host an open gym for any military branch preparing for a trial to get chosen for the 2016 Warrior Games, as well as for anyone who just wants to participate in sitting volleyball.
The first open gym was in January, where the Warner Men’s Volleyball team got the opportunity to play with the military servicemen, as well as hear some of their remarkable stories.
“Playing with those who protect our country was a great experience and a reality check. To see the military men come together as a team and play the game they love made me appreciate the gift God has given us and inspired me to give back,” said Warner senior Jose Del Toro.
“I feel like this is a way I’m giving back to them, just as they gave up something for me. It’s a way I feel I am serving my country, and serving those who serve us. It’s a way to say thank you,” Gomez said.
The next sitting volleyball games will be held on in the Turner Athletic Center on Sunday, April 17, from 2-4 p.m.