Back to Top Skip to main content

All in with medical support during Warrior Games

About 60 medical professionals in the Military Health System have volunteered to work at the DoD Warrior Games to support competitors including Army 1st Sgt. Jay Collins (above), who's scheduled to run, cycle, and row - among other events - as a member of the U.S. Special Operations Command team. (Photo courtesy USSOCOM Office of Communication) About 60 medical professionals in the Military Health System have volunteered to work at the DoD Warrior Games to support competitors including Army 1st Sgt. Jay Collins (above), who's scheduled to run, cycle, and row - among other events - as a member of the U.S. Special Operations Command team. (Photo courtesy USSOCOM Office of Communication)

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Service members and veterans competing in the 2018 DoD Warrior Games have worked diligently to become competitive athletes. Yet their performances at this event may hinge on a wild card: altitude. The games are taking place at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

 “We’re 7,250 feet above sea level,” notes Air Force Lt. Col. Amy Costello, chief of preventive medicine at the Academy and lead medical officer for the games.

A high elevation means less oxygen in the air. This can lead to reduced physical and mental performance, according to the U.S. Army Public Health Center. While endurance may be diminished, people with high levels of cardiovascular fitness are less likely to be affected by altitude, the Academy notes on its website.

 “Each team has its own unique footprint, from a medical care perspective,” Costello said. “Some are bringing their own doctors, physical therapists, athletic trainers, and technicians. We’ve built an extensive medical network infrastructure so that any team can plug into it if they need assistance.”

That infrastructure includes a primary sick call area and supporting medical tents at various venues, Costello said. “The athletes are in really good shape, but there are always going to be issues with prosthetics and fittings,” she said. For example, physical exertion can cause stumps to swell.

“If they get any kind of injury, we’re ready to help take care of them,” she said.

Costello said many of the participants arrived a few weeks ahead of the June 1-9 competition in an effort to become accustomed to the high elevation.

“These athletes are tough, but it can take up to six months to fully acclimate,” she said. “All of us who move here from sea level, we know how challenging the altitude can be on physical performance.”

Challenging? No doubt these competitors understand what “challenging” means. The games were established in 2010 to aid in the recovery of wounded, ill, and injured service members by introducing them to adaptive sports. Events include archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball. Three new sports have been added this year: indoor rowing, powerlifting, and time-trial cycling.

Approximately 300 athletes are competing from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, U.S. Special Operations Command, U.K. Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, and Canadian Armed Forces.

Army 1st Sgt. Jay Collins is competing in his first games as a member of the SOCOM team. Collins, now at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was a Green Beret medic with the 7th Special Forces Medical Group in Afghanistan in 2007 when he suffered injuries that ultimately led to the amputation of his left leg below the knee in 2014.

Collins will be competing in several individual running races as well as the 4x100 relay, cycling, rowing, and powerlifting. “And I think I’m also on the seated volleyball team,” he said. “I’m a chronic overachiever, right?”

Collins said he plans to power through despite issues with his stump and chronic back pain.

“I’ve got a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old at home,” he said. “I want to show them, ‘Hey, look, your dad’s missing his leg, and his back’s all busted up, and he’s got a gunshot hole in his arm – and he’s still out there doing this.’”

Collins also said he wants to be an advocate for wounded warriors and adaptive sports. “After I was injured, I never thought I’d be able to run again or be physically active. But adaptive sports are redefining the art of possible. There are no limitations.”

About 60 medical professionals in the Military Health System have volunteered to work at the games, Costello said. They’re coming from as close as Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson in Colorado, and as far away as Fort Belvoir in Virginia.

During the games, Costello will be keeping track of the rotating medical volunteers – “making sure they know where to go and what to do” – and ensuring they have access to the pharmacy, radiology, and any other requirements.

“The most fun piece of planning has been seeing how eager everybody is to help,” Costello said. “So many of our medical personnel want to help support the athletes. It’s just been great to see.”

You also may be interested in...

Caregivers sometimes unaware of support available

Caregiver Stacey Rivera and Navy Wounded Warrior staff canoe around Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam during the Military Caregiver Workshop. (Photo by Gabrielle Arias, Peer Support Coordinator, DHA Recovery Care Program, San Diego)

February 21 is National Caregivers Day

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

From call centers to advanced prosthetics, R&D aids wounded warriors

The Real Warriors Campaign leverages social media to promote a culture of support for psychological health while providing vital resources for the military community. The campaign currently has more than 50,000 followers on Twitter and continues to grow. (Courtesy photo from the Real Warriors Campaign)

DHA’s Research and Development Directorate continues to innovate health care for current and former service members

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Navigating the road to recovery through the healing arts

Wounded, ill, and injured Air Force and Marine Corps service members and veterans participate in "A Day of Healing Arts: From Clinic to Community" during Warrior Care Month at National Harbor in Maryland, Nov. 21, 2019. (DoD photo by Roger L. Wollenberg)

“A Day of Healing Arts” showcases the talents of service members

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Warrior Care means more than expert medical treatment

A sailor in the Navy's Wounded Warrior program at Naval Support Activity in Bethesda, Maryland, sits poolside after training. Recovery care coordinators who work within warrior care programs coordinate non-medical care for wounded, ill, and injured service members and provide resources and support to family members. (Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Hurd)

Recovery care coordinators ensure non-medical resources, family support

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Warrior Care Month: Supporting the strength, resilience of service members

Dr. Paul Cordts, Deputy Assistant Director, Medical Affairs

Journey to recovery, rehabilitation is a collective effort

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Getting creative: Reducing opioid use for returning warriors

Airmen of the 174th Attack Wing participate in a weekly yoga class. Classes are intended to present an alternative way for 174th members to build both mental and physical strength. Yoga is also a way to alleviate chronic pain in the body. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Duane Morgan)

With the rise in opioid-related drug abuse and death, the Military Health System looks to complementary pain management treatments

Recommended Content:

Opioid Safety | Pain Management | Warrior Care

Warrior Care Month Recognition


This memorandum from Mr. Thomas McCaffery, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, officially recognizes November as Warrior Care Month, an important Department of Defense (DoD)-wide effort to increase awareness of programs and resources available to wounded, ill, and injured Service members, as well as their families, caregivers, and others who support them.

  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 10/25/2019
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Warrior Care

Soldier self-amputates leg to aid battle buddies

Army Spc. Ezra Maes undergoes physical rehabilitation at the Center for the Intrepid, Brooke Army Medical Center's cutting-edge rehabilitation center on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Oct. 2, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Corey Toye)

If I didn't help myself, my crew, no one was going to

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Warrior Care

Wounded Warrior Policy Review

Congressional Testimony

H.R. 5515, NDAA Conference Report for FY 2019, 115-874, Sec. 717

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Real Warriors campaign breaks barriers to psychological health care

The Real Warriors Campaign member engages with a service member at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

Real Warriors has connected with more than three million people in the past decade

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

DoD Compensation and Benefits Handbook for Wounded, Ill, and/or Injured Service Members

Joint Service Color Guard (DoD photo)

The 2019 edition includes changes to DoD disability compensation, TRICARE health plans, education benefits, and more

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

DoD Compensation and Benefits Handbook


The purpose of this handbook is to provide Service members and their support networks with a reference guide to answer some of the most pressing questions that arise for wounded, ill, and/or injured Service members.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | DoD Compensation and Benefits Handbook

Dr. Cordts welcomes regional coordinators to training

Dr. Paul Cordts, Deputy Assistant Director for Medical Affairs, addressed coordinators from the Recovery Coordination Program during annual training. (Courtesy photo)

Programs and organizations that build relationships for service members and caregivers are critical

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Breaking the pain cycle

Ashley Blake, an acupuncture nurse at Naval Hospital Pensacola’s Pain Management Clinic, treats a patient with Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA), one of many opioid alternatives offered at many treatment facilities in the Military Health System. BFA consists of inserting five tiny and sterile 2 mm needles into specific points of the ear where they can remain for up to three days. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brannon Deugan)

Live in agony or risk addiction? MHS pain management initiatives offer options

Recommended Content:

Prescription Monitoring Program | Mental Wellness | Mental Health Care | Substance Abuse | Physical Disability | Warrior Care | Opioid Safety | Pain Management

Fourth annual Warrior Care in the 21st Century Symposium forges path ahead

Mr. Bret Stevens, director of disability evaluation systems, DoD Health Services Policy and Oversight and United States WC21 co-chair (left), Air Vice-Marshal Tracy Smart, surgeon general, Australian Defence Force (center), and Air Commodore Rich Withnall, United Kingdom WC21 co-chair (right) pose for a photo. Senior representatives from 11 nations discussed warrior care challenges, lessons learned, and innovations during this year’s event. (Photo courtesy from the Australian Defence Force)

The WC21 coalition facilitates global sharing of best practices and lessons learned in medical and non-medical military health care

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 4

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.