TAMPA, Fla. -- The ninth annual Department of Defense Warrior Games officially kicks off tomorrow in Tampa.
The games, running from June 21 to 30, will feature approximately 300 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans will participate in the competition.
The athletes will represent the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Special Operations Command. Athletes from the U.K. Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, Canadian Armed Forces, Armed Forces of the Netherlands and the Danish Armed Forces will also compete.
According to the Warrior Games website, “the athletes symbolize to all wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans across the nation, and others facing adversity, that individuals can recover from a serious injury or illness and lead fulfilling, productive and inspiring lives.”
ABC Action News watched service members practice for upcoming basketball and volleyball competitions.
“Playing with my friends on a court is quite different than playing against an enemy, if you will, especially with fans being involved there is a lot of pressure,” Steven Davis said.
Davis is playing in his second Warrior Games. In 2008, the U.S. Navy veteran lost part of his right leg in a motorcycle crash, ending his military career. For several years, Davis said he was depressed and lost. Adaptive sports gave him another chance at life.
“You are not alone. I’ve been through it I know how dark and deep those holes can be and there are programs out here like this that can give you a light you never knew was there,” Davis said. “Don’t give up there’s so many people here to help and push along. You are here for a reason and the fights not over.”
Davis is playing basketball, volleyball, and rugby.
The 2019 DoD Warrior Games will feature 14 adaptive sports: archery, cycling, indoor rowing, powerlifting, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, time trial cycling, track, field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby and golf.