BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--Lakeshore Foundation's Lima Foxtrot Programs for Injured Military and the United States Olympic Committee's U.S. Paralympic Military Program joined forces March 26-29, 2009 to present the U.S. Paralympic Military Sports Camp for servicemen and women who have sustained physical injuries.
For the second year in a row, this special event took place at Lakeshore Foundation. Participants from all over the country, including Hawaii participated in this year's camp.
"The focus of U.S. Paralympic Military Sports Camp is to expose participants to the possibilities of competitive sports offered at the next level and helping them to realize their potential," said Mandy Goff, coordinator of Lima Foxtrot Programs. "Our goal is for these individuals to retain the skills they learn over the weekend and then get plugged into sports opportunities in their hometown. We want them to see and believe the opportunities are there. That's the first step to taking their dreams to the next level."
Military personnel who have sustained physical injuries were introduced to competitive sports opportunities offered at the Paralympic level through clinics and light competition led by Paralympic athletes and coaches.
Alabama native, 1st Lt. Brian Hicks, is a member of Lakeshore Foundation's Operation Endurance which enables local servicemen and women who have sustained a severe injury during active duty access to Lakeshore Foundation's membership programs at no cost. Hicks also participated in this year's U.S. Paralympic Military Sports Camp at Lakeshore Foundation.
Hicks was deployed to Iraq in March 2003 where he served as an engineer for a medical unit. On a resupply mission, his vehicle, which was traveling at about 60 mph, hit a ditch causing a powerful impact to his back and head. The accident aggravated a pre-existing injury and caused Hicks long-term nerve damage as well as loss of all sensation in his left leg. When he was discharged 13 months later, his nerve problem had intensified and he had little to no blood flow in his left leg. The specialist he went to at UAB gave him two options - more operations or amputation. After 10 surgeries, Hicks didn't want to go through the stress of several more. So, on May 22, 2008, he made the decision to have his left leg amputated.
Today Hicks works as a civil engineer for Construction Testing and Engineering in Montgomery, Ala. In May 2009, he competed in his first Olympic distance triathlon at the Capital of Texas Triathlon in Austin, TX. He said he was looking forward to attending the U.S. Paralympic Military Sports Camp because he wanted to find other Paralympic sports he can participate in and meet other athletes who have experienced similar circumstances.
"Every now and then you circle things on your calendar that you're looking forward to," said Hicks. "This camp was definitely something I circled on mine. There's a whole world of sports opportunities available for me."
For more information, visit www.lakeshore.org/limafoxtrot.