When retired, Sgt. (R) Brian Conwell came back from the 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games a gold medalist, he found himself more popular than he could imagine. “This boy walked up to me in tears, first words out of his mouth were, I can’t believe I’m meeting you will you sign my shirt?” The former Army Generator Mechanic was on a meet and greet tour his gym in North Carolina set up to show off his medals and share his story. Part of that included telling the Warrior Games story.

“Most people in public don’t know the whole story they don’t know the purpose behind it. This program helps us recover with our brothers and sisters and helps us to move forward in the military or to move forward in civilian life and because of this program we know we are not alone,” said the Team Army Athlete.

To know this part of the story, you should know Sgt. Brian “Big Country” Conwell’s story first. He spent time at the Fort Riley Soldier Recovery Unit after an accident. Conwell was working with his unit doing inventory and left in a vehicle to get everyone lunch when he hit black ice on a wintery January day in 2014. He had to have his left leg amputated above the knee, while his right leg between the kneecap and ankle was surgically saved with thirty screws, four plates and a ten-inch rod.

Sgt. Brian "Big Country" Conwell during discus practice at the 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Orlando Florida. (Photo courtesy Adriane Wilson)
Sgt. Brian “Big Country” Conwell during discus practice at the 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Orlando Florida.
(Photo courtesy Adriane Wilson)

“The first thoughts that ran through my head were my kids. I was so used to running and jumping, swimming, and doing all kinds of physical activities with my kids.” His bad day would get worse as depression set in after abusive and deceptive relationships did not help in his recovery, so he became a recluse, doing nothing else to improve and got up to 420 lbs. “I locked the doors I shut the shades and I just sat here sulking and I was really close to letting my demons win. But Oct 1, 2020, I said to myself You are better than this- do something about it,” said Conwell.