History of Warrior Games

Created in 2010, the Warrior Games is an annual Paralympic-type event designed to showcase the resilient spirit of our nation’s wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from all branches of the military. Athletes representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy/Coast Guard, Air Force, Special Operations Command and the United Kingdom Armed Forces compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in archery, cycling, field, shooting, swimming, sitting volleyball, track and wheelchair basketball. The Warrior Games is an opportunity to demonstrate support to those, and their families, who sacrificed greatly on behalf of our nation.

Many of our recovering service members use adaptive sports, and other adaptive reconditioning activities, to assist in their overall rehabilitation and overcome the challenge of adjusting to their new condition. Adaptive sports and reconditioning activities enable healing through a holistic approach and provide physical and cognitive activities that inspire physical fitness and encourage new opportunities for growth and achievement. They are linked to a variety of benefits including: reduced stress, reduced dependency on pain medication, fewer secondary conditions (e.g., hypertension, diabetes, etc.), higher achievement in education and employment, increased mobility and increased independence.

The Warrior Games represent the culmination of their participation in structured adaptive sports and reconditioning activities throughout recovery and transition. Participation in the Warrior Games allows service members and veterans to build a supportive social network, developing relationships with other athletes with similar disabilities, giving them a sense of community and acceptance on their path to recovery. Additionally, the games are an opportunity for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, families and caregivers to share common experiences and celebrate their accomplishments in overcoming adversity and thriving.

Previously overseen by the United States Olympic Committee, the Department of Defense (DoD) assumed the lead role for organizing the Warrior Games in 2015 to better align the event with the games’ core mission of playing a vital role in recovery for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans. As the Warrior Games move into the 2016 round of competition, DoD has expanded athletic eligibility, re-emphasized family participation and allowed for greater involvement from the services and their communities. Each military service will host the games on a rotating basis with the U.S. Army and the United States Military Academy hosting the 2016 DoD Warrior Games for approximately 250 athletes in West Point, N.Y., June 15-21.