Cpl. Anthony McDaniel lost both his legs and his left hand to an improvised explosive device in August 2010. Now McDaniel, from Pascagoula, Miss., is pushing his mind and body to the limit as he competes against other Wounded Warriors in the 2012 Marine Corps Trials hosted by the Wounded Warrior Regiment. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Mark Fayloga, Feb. 14, 2012
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (2/17/2012) - Cpl. Anthony McDaniel sits
sprawled on the grass in a pair of red sweatpants and Air Jordans.
His smile is genuine and his laugh contagious as he quotes comedian
Kevin Hart with one of his track coaches. At first glance, McDaniel
looks like any other carefree young man his age. But underneath the
sweatpants and sneakers lie two prosthetic legs and his left arm is
amputated just before the wrist; but in his eyes lie the
determination and drive that pushed him to be more than just an
injured Marine. McDaniel is a Wounded Warrior.
Aug. 31, 2010,
McDaniel set out on a route clearance patrol as an artilleryman in
Kajaki, Afghanistan. While on the patrol, McDaniel identified an
improvised explosive device, but before he could notify his squad,
detonated. Four days later, McDaniel gained consciousness in Germany
missing his legs
and a hand. For many, this would mark the end of an active life, but
for McDaniel, it was only the beginning.
More than a year later, McDaniel, from Pascagoula, Miss.,
is joining more than 300 other wounded Marines, veterans and
allies to compete in the 2012 Marine Corps Trials at Marine
Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. McDaniel will be competing
in wheel-chair basketball and trying hand-biking for the
first time. McDaniel took some time out of his busy training
schedule to share a little bit about what defines him as a
Q: What motivated you to push yourself
physically to compete?
A: The people
who are around me on a daily basis helped me get out of my
shell, that isolation and try new things. You go out and try
it and you like it, so you stick with it.
Q: How was
hand-biking for the first time?
A: It wasn't too
difficult. The hardest thing is not leaning back or you'll
fall back. Then you'll look kind of crazy trying to push
yourself back up.
Q: You brought your new
running-specific prostheses, but decided to do hand-biking
instead. Why did you make that decision?
A: I figure that
wheel-chair racing fits me better than those actual legs
right now. But it's just like everything – it just takes
getting used to. I'll continue to work on them.
How difficult is it to walk with your prosthetic legs?
Balance is the main thing with prosthetics – and your core.
If you have a weak core, it's going to be really hard to
Q: Which competition in the 2012 Marine Corps
Trials are you most serious about?
basketball is my main thing. My goal is to make the
Paralympic team for wheel-chair basketball.
Q: Do you
think of yourself as ‘wounded'?
A: No, not really. I
might have a left wrist amputation and a bilateral
amputation, but it's still not going to stop me from doing
what I want to do. You don't look at yourself as wounded or
disabled, but at the things you can do.
advice would you give to other wounded Marines and service
A: Just because you got injured, your life
doesn't have to stop. You may not be able to do the exact
things you used to, but you can do similar things, and have
a lot of fun doing it. As long as you don't want to stop
yourself, you can do whatever you want to do.
has it been getting to know other Wounded Warriors?
Marines stick together, but with Wounded Warriors, it's a
real knit bond. We share the same situations and
circumstances. You can't really explain it. It's something
Q: What are your goals for the future?
By the end of the year, I'll be moving to Florida and going
to college to get my accounting degree. Eventually, I want
to open my own car wash in Florida. But physically, I'll
still be doing wheelchair basketball and hope to get my own
track bike so I'll be able to ride around with my son when
he learns how to ride a bike one day.
By USMC Lance Cpl. Chelsea Flowers
Defense Media Activity - Marines
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