May 11, 2010 4:01 AM by Jeannette Hynes

Opening ceremonies kick off Warrior Games

Troops trade their combat boots for tennis shoes, sneakers, and in some cases, a set of wheels.

The inaugural Warrior Games give these men and women of the military a chance to compete in athletic events, no matter their injuries.

"To me, it's a feeling of purpose.  It helps me to build my self-confidence back from my injuries.  It's another way to serve the United States again," says Specialist Mathurin Agnew.

Agnew was injured in a motorcycle accident after returning from a tour in Afghanistan.  He was in a coma for two weeks and in the hospital for two months.  He's now stationed at Fort Carson with the Warrior Transition Unit.

For some of these men and women, the bigger injuries are the ones you can't see.

An improvised explosive device and a separate humvee accident have placed Specialist Jerry Coffey in the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Carson.  Coffey says he has plenty of physical injuries, but he battles with depression.  These games are part of therapy, and a welcome distraction.

"You can't really go on through life without having challenges; otherwise life is boring," Coffey.

NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Roger Staubach had the honor of lighting the Olympic Flame to open the Warrior Games at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Two-hundred wounded, injured, and ill members of the military will compete this week in several sports:  archery, cycling, basketball, shooting, swimming, track & field, and sitting volleyball.

Admission to all the events are free and open to the public.  They will take place May 11-14 at several venues:  Olympic Training Center, Air Force Academy, and Memorial Park.

The U.S. Paralympics has put together a complete competition schedule.



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