Four games of wheelchair basketball and 10 rounds of archery into the inaugural Warrior Games for Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Pollock II and he has one thing to say about his experience thus far: “My dogs [referring to his hands] are barking.” And so it goes for the rehabilitated soldiers competing at these Games. “But a great experience though,” he later adds.
It’s a small price to pay for the Deloitte Featured Warrior who credits sports with pulling him out of the deep depression he was in after leaving the hospital after six months when his motorcycle collided with a car that ran a stop sign. The impact of the collision sent him flying 97 feet and broke nearly every bone in his body below the waist including his pelvis, knees, legs and feet.
And while the accident nearly took everything, what it couldn’t take away was his passion for sports and adrenaline. That’s what fueled him before his accident when he was a competitive body builder and it’s what fuels him today as he competes in nearly every sport imaginable including golf, sled hockey, archery, wheelchair basketball, swimming and track.
"Athletics put you out of the realm of pain, because when you are doing sports, you have adrenaline built up and it subsides pain,” Pollock said in a recent interview.
Pollock’s sports obsession won’t stop at the conclusion of these Games, however. Owning an 11-handicap in golf, Pollock dreams of one day representing his country in the sport of Paralympic golf. With golf added to the Olympic program for 2016, he hopes to meet with U.S. Paralympic officials while in Colorado Springs to help him lobby the International Paralympic Committee for inclusion of the sport in future Paralympic Games. He’s throwing his name into the mix now.
But in the meantime, look for Pollock to keep competing with his comrades at the Center of the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He envisions future Warrior Games where soldiers are given longer time to train and team sports get the advantage of playing together for longer periods prior to competition.
Along with sports, Pollock credits his wife, Liliana, for ensuring that he was able to fight back from such debilitating injuries. “She’s truly been the rock that’s held everything together,” he says. “I’m grateful to have her in my life.”
Pollock has one day to rest his “tired dogs” before he competes again in the shot put and discus on Friday. To read a longer profile on Pollock, click HERE.