COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 16, 2013) – The Marine Corps grabbed the sitting volleyball gold medal, sweeping Army, 25-21, 25-12, Wednesday evening at the U.S. Air Force Academy Clune Arena in one of the final events of the 2013 Warrior Games.
The Army squad took the silver medal, coached by two-time U.S. Paralympic Women’s Sitting Volleyball silver medalists Kari Miller and Heather Erickson, and the British Forces claimed the bronze in a three-set thriller over Navy (25-18, 23-25, 17-15) at the Cadet Gym.
Three more services that were represented during the four days of pool play include Air Force, Special Operations Command (SOCOM), and United Kingdom.
The Warrior Games are designed to introduce injured service members and veterans to Paralympic sport competition and encourage them to stay physically active when they return to their local communities following the event.
Sitting volleyball was one of seven sports available in the Fourth Annual Warrior Games. Approximately 260 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans competed in the May 11-16 games in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Like many multi-sport events, the Warrior Games is about much more than competition and medals. The Warrior Games acts as a piece of the warriors’ recovery, SOCOM sitting volleyball coach and USA Volleyball manager of indoor high performance, Denise Sheldon said. Tori Hoke, USA Volleyball region services coordinator, and Stephanie Nichols, USA Volleyball events assistant, were also part of the SOCOM coaching staff.
“Sitting volleyball, in particular, is sport that closely mirrors the team-driven experience that the military provides,” Sheldon said. “Giving these men and women the opportunity to work together to improve and accomplish common goals is a large step to regaining independence after a life-altering injury or illness.”
The Games are just a small part of a comprehensive program that aids service members and veterans in their recovery and transition that targets not just the physical but the mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of their lives.
“Watching each Warrior improve their level of play also very much means watching their quality of life improve as well,” Sheldon said, “and there is nothing more inspiring than seeing what these brave men and women can overcome.”
Several other USA Volleyball members involved in the Warrior Games include event organizers, John Kessel (sports development director) and Leslee Harms (sports development assistant), and scorekeepers, Margie Mara (senior director) and George Egan (events manager).