FORT BLISS, Texas - At just 22 years old, Spc. Samuel Scudder has
accomplished more for himself than some people achieve in a
He was an outstanding kicker for his high school
football team, served his nation as a Marine, later joined the Army,
deployed to a combat zone in Afghanistan, welcomed his first son
just 10 months ago and is competing in his first Army Trials.
March 23, 2015 - Spc. Samuel Scudder, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Warrior Transition Unit, is competing in swimming during the Army Trials at Fort Bliss, Texas. Approximately 80 wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and veterans are at Fort Bliss to train and compete in a series of competitive athletic events including archery, cycling, shooting, and sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball. Army
2015 Trials competition, March 29 - April 2, is conducted by the Army Warrior Transition Command and hosted by Fort Bliss. Army Trials help determine who will get a spot on the Department of Defense Warrior Games 2015 Army Team in June at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va. (U.S. Army photo by Chanel S. Weaver, U.S. Army Public Health Command)
Approximately 80 wounded, ill or injured Soldiers and
veterans are at Fort Bliss to train and compete in a series
of competitive athletic events including archery, cycling,
shooting, and sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field
and wheelchair basketball. The 2015 Army Trials competition,
March 29 – April 2, is conducted by the Army Warrior
Transition Command and hosted by Fort Bliss. Army Trials
help determine who will get a spot on the Department of
Defense Warrior Games 2015 Army Team in June at Marine Corps
Base, Quantico, Virginia.
During Scudder's deployment
to Afghanistan, he was injured in a fall, and sustained
nerve damage, lost mobility in his knee and suffered some
hearing loss in his left ear.
While such injuries
would cause some people to avoid any physical activity,
Scudder is just not the type of guy who wants to sit at home
and do nothing.
“In the Army, we learn to be
resilient,” said Scudder. “I refuse to let an injury define
who I am.”
Scudder discovered that swimming laps in a
pool actually helped his knee heal, but he also discovered
“I realized I was pretty good at this
thing, and when I heard about the Army Trials, I thought it
would be the perfect place for me to try something new,”
When Scudder arrived for the Army
Trials practice session at Fort Bliss, he was impressed with
the high-quality coaching team who assists the athletes.
One particular coach is Glen O'Sullivan, a U.S.
Paralympic team coach who assists the swimming team.
“My goal is to help each athlete succeed,” said O'Sullivan,
who also spent nine years in the Marine Corps and eight
years as a water survival instructor for the Navy. “I don't
want them to focus on their disability, but on understanding
what they can do. Anything is possible if you have the mind
Scudder said the Army Trials coaching
staff let him know that he can compete in spite of his
Those who work with Scudder on a regular
basis are not surprised by his drive and determination to
Staff Sgt. Garfield Harriott, a fellow
Soldier with combat experience serves as Scudder's
supervisor at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He said that
Scudder is an example among his peers.
“He is not a
complainer, and he finds solutions to problems,” said
Harriott. “His attitude is always positive, and you can
always see him helping other Soldiers.”
to return to regular duty within the Army soon.
Staff Sgt. Timothy Adams Jr., a squad leader for the Army
Trials, is responsible for assisting Soldiers with their
day-to-day activities and helping them through their therapy
and recovery process. He knows firsthand that a Soldier can
return to duty, even after a debilitating injury. He has had
three separate deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait,
and was injured himself by shrapnel when an improvised
explosive device was deployed while he was on a convoy
mission. He has returned to active duty, and works to
inspire the other athletes.
“You have to push
yourself,” said Adams. “You have to be resilient.”
addition to competing in the swimming category, Scudder will
also compete in several other categories, including
wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, cycling and
Scudder said his fellow warriors are really
the ones who motivate him.
“The most enjoyable part
of being here is the camaraderie among the group,” said
By Chanel S. Weaver, U.S. Army Public Health Command
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