Friendly competition helping wounded warriors through recovery, - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Friendly competition helping wounded warriors through recovery, transition

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FT. GORDON, GA (WFXG) -

Nearly 40 men and women congregate in a room at Fort Gordon, socializing.

All of them are wounded warriors, still recovering from battle injuries.

And though they all fight for the same side, tomorrow they begin to compete with each other.

Soldiers representing Forts Gordon, Benning, Stewart, and Jackson are gearing up for the 2012 Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) Games at Fort Gordon this week.

"We're kind of making a little rivalry, and making a little camaraderie," says LT Col. Brian McCormack of the Ft. Gordon WTB. "They're competing against other warriors who are going through the exact same thing."

The soldiers compete in sports like cycling, swimming, and wheelchair basketball, all striving for the coveted Champions' Cup.

But McCormack says the competition is also critical in helping the warriors in their recovery process.

"They can still participate and still do these things and still have athletics," he says. "They don't have to give that up, which is important mentally, emotionally, and physically."

The soldiers say the games can help boost the necessary confidence to get through the tough times of transition.

"Where the mind goes, the body goes," says Sgt. Ian Valines, competing for Ft. Stewart. "It's just about mentally getting in there and saying, 'I can still do this.'"

"It allows them to say, 'Ok, I can still compete and I can still do great things,'" says CW2 Alan Hart, representing Ft. Gordon.

But Lt. Col. McCormack says regardless of who is atop the scoreboard Thursday, everyone competing is already a victor.

"We're just here to have a good time and compete," he says. "There are no losers."

But that doesn't mean those competing aren't already talking a little smack.

"You have a prediction on who's taking that trophy home?" asks Fox 54's Jake Wallace.

"That's staying here at Ft. Gordon where it has been since it was incepted," laughs Hart.

Fox 54 will have coverage of the Games all week.

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