Q&A with Warrior Games Bronze Medalist, Elizabeth Wasil

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Spc. Elizabeth Wasil, swimmer, World Class Athlete Program, practices her wheelchair race events for the Warrior Games May 7, 2013 at Carson Middle School, Fort Carson. Wasil will be competing in hand-cycling, wheelchair racing, shot-put, and discus events. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. William Smith, 4th Inf. Div. PAO)

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Spc. Elizabeth Wasil, swimmer, World Class Athlete Program, practices her wheelchair race events for the Warrior Games May 7, 2013 at Carson Middle School, Fort Carson. Wasil will be competing in hand-cycling, wheelchair racing, shot-put, and discus events.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. William Smith, 4th Inf. Div. PAO)

By Alli Kartachak, WTC Stratcom
If anyone is a testament to the power of adaptive reconditioning on the healing process, it is Elizabeth Wasil. As a combat medic on assignment in Afghanistan in 2010, she sustained bilateral hip injuries, impeding her ability to walk, and underwent three surgeries to restructure her hips in order to regain mobility.

Today, the specialist from Prescott Valley, Arizona is defying the odds. Her participation in adaptive reconditioning activities and the 2012 Warrior Games propelled her military and athletic career and brought her from ‘injured Soldier’ to the first Paralympic swimmer in the U.S. World Class Athlete Program (WCAP).

This year, she continues to shine at the 2013 Warrior Games, stealing the bronze for women’s hand cycling for the Army on May 13 at the U.S. Air Force Academy. She is also slated to compete in the track and field events as an Army athlete at this year’s competition.

I took some time with the bronze medalist after her hand cycling win to ask her a few questions:

Q: What does being a part of Warrior Games mean to you?

A: It means that I get to represent the Army and participate with some of the world’s finest athletes and surround myself with humble heroes.

Q: How did adaptive reconditioning help you in your transition/ road to recovery?

A: Adaptive reconditioning led me to the Warrior Games. It took me from someone who was injured into an athlete in the WCTP. It launched my career and gave me a chance to compete with some of the best athletes out there.

Q: What would you say to other wounded, ill or injured Soldiers about the value of adaptive reconditioning?

A: I would say that it has changed my life. I would tell wounded, ill or injured athletes to just try it – give adaptive reconditioning a chance and see what it can do for you.

Q: As a member of the WCTP do you have your sights set on Rio for the 2016 Paralympic Games?

A: I’m hopeful! It is a possibility.

Q: Anything else that you would like to add?

A: Thank you to Army leadership – especially to MSG Jongema. He’s been a true leader and has poured his heart out into this competition. I don’t think he can ever get the recognition he deserves for all that he has done.

Thank you Spc. Wasil for your inspirational messages – you are a symbol of hope for so many wounded, ill and injured Soldiers.

WARRIOR GAMES MEDAL UPDATE: After this interview took place, Spc. Wasil has won gold in the Women’s Track 1500M Wheelchair event. See the full list of Warrior Games results at http://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Military/Warrior-Games-presented-by-Deloitte/Competition-Results.aspx.

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