COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Wounded, ill and injured service member’s from the Marine Corps, Army, Navy/Coast Guard and SOCOM showcased their athletic abilities during a heated seated volleyball match against Prince Harry and the British team.
Representing the Marine Warrior Games team was Pfc. Artem Lazukin, from Clackamas, Ore., and Cpl. Jorge Salazar, from Delano, Calif. The match kicked off the 2013 Warrior Games that will be held May 10-16, at the Olympic Training Center and Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“The Warrior Games foster healthy competition between all branches of military service, both national and international,” said Jennifer Sullivan, Wounded Warrior Regiment’s Warrior Athlete Reconditioning program manager. “Competitors have an opportunity to fine tune their athletic skills, strengthen their bodies and support each other through the recovery process.”
The match is just one avenue that raises awareness of the amazing accomplishments wounded, ill and injured service members are making throughout their recovery. It is also an opportunity to get the community roused about the upcoming Warrior Games.
“I am really excited to represent the Marine Corps at the Warrior Games,” Lazukin said “I am confident we will [do great] because all of our athletes are dedicated.”
Lazukin, who was injured on June 22, 2011 while serving with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, will compete in sitting volleyball and shooting.,
“I ended up stepping on a 13-pound improvised explosive device in Afghanistan's Helmand province,” said Lazukin. “The Warrior Games help veterans and active duty [service members] get involved in a sport they like, meet new people and reintegrate to a normal life.”
Lazukin and the 49 other athletes on his team felt a sense of camaraderie at tonight’s match as Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett attended the scrimmage. When asked what the best part of his day was, Lazukin answered, “The Silent Drill Platoon.”
The 2013 Warrior Games seated volleyball competition is open to male and female service members. Categories include upper body impairment, lower body impairment, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. Throughout the week, athletes will have an opportunity to compete in volleyball, wheelchair basketball, shooting, swimming, cycling, track and field, and archery.
“As long as you have the desire to do something you can do anything, no matter the injury,” said Lazukin.
For more information about the Wounded Warrior Regiment or the All-Marine Warrior Games team go to woundedwarriorregiment.org, www.facebook.com/wwr.usmc or call the Sgt. Merlin German Wounded Warrior Call Center at 1-877-487-6299.