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Meet Your Military: Injured Soldier Strives to Excel at Army Trials

support our troops injured soldier athletic eventsArmy Staff Sgt. Tiffany Rodriguez-Rexroad, Warrior Transition Battalion, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, works to improve her shot put skills during a training session Feb. 28, 2016. More than 100 wounded, ill and injured soldiers and veterans were at Fort Bliss, Texas, to train and compete in a series of athletic events including archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball to help in determining who will get a spot on the Army team for the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games. Army photo by Ronald Wolf. FORT BLISS, Texas, March 14, 2016 — Army Staff Sgt. Tiffany Rodriguez-Rexroad’s goals in participating in the Army Trials here for the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games were to heal and to remain on active duty.

Rodriguez-Rexroad was injured in December when as a pedestrian she was hit by a truck. She’s since had hip-replacement surgery and is recovering.

She was at the 2016 U.S. Army Trials trying out for the team for the first time, competing in cycling and field events such as shot put and air rifle marksmanship. Rodriguez-Rexroad is unable to participate in other events such as sitting volleyball until she fully recovers from her surgery.

She is assigned to the Brooke Army Medical Center, Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Her hometown is Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, which she proudly claims has a population of 85.

Major Athletic Competition

More than 100 wounded, ill and injured soldiers and veterans were at Fort Bliss to train and compete in adaptive sports including archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball.

The Army Trials, conducted by the Army Warrior Transition Command from March 6-10, help to determine who will get a spot on the 2016 Army Team for the DoD Warrior Games. About 250 athletes, representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Command and the British armed forces will compete in the DoD Warrior Games June 14-22 at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

Rodriguez-Rexroad said she’s especially appreciative of the coaches who have helped her at the Warrior Transition Battalion and at the Army Trials. Her athletic skills and conditioning have improved since arriving at Fort Bliss, she said.

She said she began adaptive reconditioning activities such as field events and shooting air rifles at the battalion, noting that they helped her feel positive about herself. She started participating in cycling, which enabled her to maintain weight and fitness levels and also led her to competing. Cycling, she said, is her favorite event, and she has been doing it for about a year. When she first saw a hand cycle at the Center for the Intrepid, she said, “That’s cool, I want to try that.”

Physical Activity Aids Recovery

Adaptive reconditioning includes any physical activities that wounded, ill and injured soldiers and veterans participate in regularly to support their physical and emotional well-being. These activities can contribute to a successful recovery. “Being able to do this stuff makes me able to know that I’m not broken,” she said.

To support each wounded, ill or injured soldier’s return to the force or transition to veteran status, the Army created a framework called the Comprehensive Transition Plan. The CTP uses six domains -- career, physical, emotional, social, family and spiritual -- to establish goals that map a soldier’s transition plan.As the owner of the plan, each soldier takes charge of his or her transition and becomes accountable for developing and achieving their goals. One requirement for goals is to comply with ongoing medical and military responsibilities.

“I’ve always been athletic, and getting back into athletic activities is a great help for me,” she said.

Rodriguez-Rexroad said she enjoyed herself at the Army Trials.

“I like the camaraderie of the games,” she said, “and I like being able to prove that soldiers who are wounded, ill or injured are still able to accomplish things.”

She added, “If I don’t make the team [this year], I’m coming back again.”

**Written March 14th, 2016 By Ronald Wolf U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command. Republished and redistributed by permission of DoD. ***SOT***

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