Navy Lt. Megan Haydel, who oversees the Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor adaptive athletics program, authored a blog post for Navy Live. It is excerpted below:
“People sometimes ask me what adaptive sports are all about. It’s a buzz phrase you often hear in discussions about warrior care. What exactly does it mean? And, more specifically, what does it mean to service members who are seriously wounded, ill or injured?
Adaptive sports are athletic activities modified to meet the abilities of injured or ill individuals. Virtually any sport – from archery, to surfing, to playing basketball in wheelchairs – can be adapted. Adaptive sports are considered some of the most useful tools in promoting recovery among wounded warriors.”
Read more now! And go Team Navy!
Retired Aviation Electrician’s Mate Steven Davis, a member of Team Navy, engaged in friendly verbal sparring with Britain’s Prince Harry during a seated volleyball exhibition match at the kick off of the Warrior Games May 11. This week, 35 accomplished wounded warrior athletes are competing on behalf of Team Navy in archery, cycling, seated volleyball, shooting, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball.
Click here for the latest news about the Warrior Games, or visit Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor’s Facebook page.
Retired Navy Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class
Current Position: Student
Disability: Stroke diagnosed in 2007
Warrior Games Sports: Field
Castaneda, Team Navy’s 2013 torchbearer, joined the Navy in 1990 to see the world. Having grown up in El Paso, Texas, a very arid desert climate, he was drawn to the cool blue ocean waters and the promise of where they would take him. He did not join the Navy with the intention of making it his career, but he stayed with the Navy because he enjoyed the tempo of military service, changing jobs every three years, meeting new people, and the challenges and rewards that accompany a new position and duty station. Early one morning in October 2007, Castaneda suffered a stroke during muster aboard USS Tortuga (LSD 46), while the ship was underway near the Phillipines. Castaneda retired from the Navy after 20 years of service in September 2010. Castaneda says: “Everyone [competing in adaptive athletics] seems seven feet tall — larger than life. I feel like Superman. I can do anything now.”
Joseph A. Frank
Retired Navy Operations Specialist 2nd Class
Current Position: Student
Disability: Upper- and lower-body impairments, and traumatic brain injury sustained in a 2007 traffic accident
Warrior Games Sports: Ultimate Champion, Seated Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball
With written permission from his parents, Frank signed up for the Navy’s delayed entry program on his 17th birthday. Once he completed high school, Frank departed for Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. While serving on USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), Frank attended and completed Surface Rescue Swimmer School in Jacksonville, Fla., in December 2005, to become a ship search and rescue swimmer (SAR). Upon completion of a deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism, Frank’s Basic Underwater Demolition School (BUD/s) training package was accepted in 2006. On Jan. 18, 2007, while still attending the training, he was hit head-on by a drunk driver fleeing from police. Due to the severity of the injuries Frank suffered, he had to give up his plans to become a SEAL. Since retiring, Frank has continued to exercise and compete, keeping his body moving and preventing his injuries from winning the battle. In 2012, he joined other disabled veterans and cycled across the country as part of the Sea to Shining Sea ride. Frank also enjoys participating in triathlons, ultra-distance cycling, and piloting tandems in the Blind Stokers Club of San Diego.
“The Warrior Games was really an eye-opener for me. I would have never learned about the adaptive athletics opportunities out there without the Games,” said Frank.
Navy Chief Gunner’s Mate
Current Command: Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific
Physical Disability: Traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder sustained in 2011 shipboard accident
Warrior Games Sports: Ultimate Champion
Tarqueno grew up in Tinley Park, Ill. She joined the Navy in 2002 because she loved the idea of adventure and wanted to do something different. She has served 10 years aboard three different ships as a Gunner’s Mate. She served on shore duty at the Center for Security Forces as an instructor of small arms and machine guns. While her last ship, USS Port Royal (CG 73), was underway in support of Operation New Dawn, Tarqueno was struck in the head with a 30-pound steel brace that was thrown from the deck above. She suffered a TBI and PTSD, and continues her recovery. She was appointed to Chief Petty Officer last year.
“I feel honored to be Team Navy’s first female Ultimate Champion competitor,” said Tarqueno. “I am extremely excited and, of course, nervous. The Games, and the team, have brought a lot into my life, and I hope I can represent them proudly.”
Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Owens posed for a photo with his wife Sherri Davidson-Owens and his Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor Non-medical Care Manager Lt. Stephanie Marcelo at the Evergreen Chapter of the ALS Association’s annual luncheon April 19. At the luncheon, which was entitled Visualize…A World Without ALS, a guest speaker shared Owens’s story and showed a video entitled, “Embrace: The Story of Anthony Owens.” About 25 friends, family, coworkers and medical care providers attended the luncheon to show their support and celebrate his amazing journey.