Although he also tried tossing a basketball from a wheelchair for the first time, picking up a bow again was what really caught the interest of Sgt. David Glasscock at the Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit’s adaptive reconditioning day in Portland March 9.
Glasscock joined more than 60 other CBWTU Soldiers from Oregon and Washington who gathered together at the muster March 5-9 to meet with leadership, train, and update their comprehensive transition plans. The muster also offered up a day to try out adaptive sports such as wheelchair rugby, sit volleyball, hand cycling, and archery— the sport that reignited interest in Glasscock to participate and compete again.
“It’s always interested me; it definitely re-sparked it,” said Glasscock, a signal specialist by trade who deployed in the Gulf War and in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
With Soldiers in the CBWTU living in their home communities, most often not near Army facilities, introducing them to adaptive sports they can participate in locally was a primary goal for the muster planners.
“Many of these Soldiers have asked how to connect with their local communities, and this is the best way I can help them,” said Staff Sgt. Chad DeSeranno, the unit’s noncommissioned officer in charge of their adaptive reconditioning program and patient administration section.
Twenty-eight volunteers with Oregon Disability Sports, a U.S. Paralympics sports club, organized and ran the adaptive reconditioning day, pairing with other Oregon adaptive sports organizations.
“I think the idea is that sport recreations can lend to positive, healthy, mental and physical well-being. It is why we do this,” said Trisha Suhr, executive director of Oregon Disability Sports.
Non-traditional and adaptive sports allow Soldiers with disabilities to find new ways to remain fit. They also give participants a positive energy they can bring back into their everyday life, said Suhr.
Importantly, the adaptive sports provide an avenue for people with injuries to have a peer group they can relate to and open up to about their challenges, she said.
“I’m a physical therapist and I think I understand spinal injuries, but I don’t know what these guys are going through,” said Suhr, referring to members of the wheelchair rugby team, the Portland Pounders, who participated in the muster.
Getting Soldiers to connect with their peers was another goal of the muster planners, who aligned the adaptive reconditioning participants into groups of Soldiers who live near them. One Soldier in each group serves as a group leader, reaching out to CBWTU Soldiers in their local area outside of the muster to provide peer support.
“I think the big thing people get out of it is to make connections with people in your area,” said 1st Lt. Bryan Addington, CBWTU commander. In that vein, the muster also included a Soldier Care Expo in which Soldiers met with more than 75 local vendors spanning Veteran service organizations, Veteran Affairs, adaptive reconditioning groups, college representatives, and more.
Addington said that through the muster his team strived to give Soldiers the tools that they needed to be successful at home, to include finding sports that Soldiers can participate in despite medical limitations.
“It’s about getting out and finding something that you can be good at again and having success in your life,” he said.