U.S. Special Operations Command will host the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games June 21-30, 2019 at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. The Warrior Games are a celebration of the world’s wounded warriors, demonstrating their strength, agility, and teamwork through competition. This year, approximately 300 active service members and veterans from around the world with upper-body, lower-body, and spinal cord injuries; traumatic brain injuries; visual impairment; serious illnesses; and post-traumatic stress will participate in the games.
The Warrior Games will consist of 14 Olympic Tournaments. The events include archery, cycling, time-trial cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, tennis, wheelchair basketball, indoor rowing, powerlifting, and wheelchair rugby. The DOD Warrior Games will also be introducing golf to the competition in 2019. Participating in the events will be representatives from the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Command. International competitors will again include the United Kingdom Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, and the Canadian Armed Forces. The DOD Warrior Games are also proud to welcome the armed forces of the Netherlands, and Danish armed forces to participate in the games for the first time.
The Tampa Bay area is the ideal location to host the games, due to the local community’s strong connection with the military. Mike Nicholson, a veteran from Tampa who lost three limbs in Afghanistan, was the first to suggest that Tampa should host the games. Nicholson attained the incredible feat of winning six gold medals in last year’s competition. Tampa City Council member Luis Viera was excited about Nicholson’s idea enough to introduce it to the council, and the measure passed unanimously. Much to Nicholson’s and Viera’s excitement, on Monday, January 7, 2019, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson made the official announcement that Tampa would be hosting the Department of Defense Warrior Games.
Created in 2010, the Warrior Games were not only begun to help wounded warriors recover and enhance rehabilitation but to celebrate their strength and service through adaptive sports. These games encourage active-duty service members to stay physically active when they return to their local communities. The games help to promote and inspire opportunities for growth and achievement in all of the athletes involved. Families are a huge part of the Warrior Games athletes’ success, and the Warrior Games hope to show their gratitude to these families by hosting a large family program within the games. Last year’s games were also sponsored by the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Since the first DOD Warrior Games, the event has only grown in events and attendance, with approximately 500,000 spectators attending the games in 2018. We hope to see this trend continue in 2019 and the years to come.