The Department of Defense (DoD) holds an annual adaptive-sports competition. The competition highlights the exceptional physical skills and mental toughness of wounded, ill, and injured active-duty and veteran servicemembers. Next year will be the competition’s 11th year.

The 2020 games were supposed to be held in San Antonio but were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Army will host the 2021 DoD Warrior Games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, in September 2021. Specific dates and details will be released closer to the event.

Humans Are More Important Than Hardware This Is a SOF Truth.  

In the games, men and women from the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, Army, and U.S. Special Operations Command are joined by representatives from allied nations. 

The featured adaptive sports include, but aren’t limited to, archery, cycling, sitting volleyball, swimming, track, field, wheelchair basketball, indoor rowing, powerlifting, golf, and wheelchair rugby.

I participated in the camps a few years ago and was in awe at the staff’s professionalism and the quality of the venues. The coaches for team SOCOM were truly incredible and an inspiration to us all. 

First and foremost, the games are designed to enhance recovery by engaging wounded, ill, and injured servicemembers outside of traditional therapy settings. The program hopes to inspire healing and physical fitness and encourage new opportunities for growth and achievement. The Warrior Games also raise awareness about the resources available through the DoD Warrior Care programs.

The Adaptive Sports Program Is Just One Facet of the Continuum of Recovery and Care our Active-duty and Veteran Warriors Receive.

So who can compete? Both active-duty troops and veterans alike. Don’t have a purple heart? You can still submit your information and let the staff decide if your injuries qualify. For Team SOCOM, you would need to contact your local Care Coalition, if you are registered in their system. Then they will connect you with Military Adaptive Sports (MAS).

Team SOCOM arrives during the athletes’ procession for the opening ceremony of the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the United States Marine Corps base in Quantico, VA., June 19, 2015. (Photo by Molly Riley/UPI)

You need to qualify to join a team. Several camps are held, based on the coaches’ recommendations for each sport, before selecting the team roster.

As the USSOCOM commander had said at Care Coalition’s founding in 2005, “​​They made a promise to us when they joined, whatever Service they joined, and then they made another promise to us when they came in as Special Operations, and we’re making a promise to them, that we’re going to be with them for the rest of their lives if anything happens to them and we’re going to help take care of their families as well.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the games to cheer on the wounded warriors representing their service, country, and commitment to excellence. Additional event details, including opening and closing ceremonies, will be released closer to the event.