The 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games, hosted by the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, took place August 19-28, 2022, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. Nearly 300 athletes from across the globe representing the U.S. military and ally nations participated in this event.
Now in its twelfth year, the Warrior Games celebrate the resiliency and dedication of wounded, ill and injured active-duty and veteran U.S. military service members. Athletes compete in adaptive sports like wheelchair basketball, cycling, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, sitting volleyball and – as of just a few years ago – powerlifting.
“We had been advocating for powerlifting to be added to this event for a while, so we were thrilled to start participating back in 2018,” said Coach Mary Hodge, MS, CPT, senior manager of sport performance and education. “We were even more thrilled when they asked us to take the lead on planning and organizing the powerlifting event.”
Hired as sports specialists because of how well they know the sport of powerlifting, Coach Hodge and her team spent the first half of the year hard at work planning an incredible event. Coach Hodge worked alongside Kelley Humphries-Mascoll, DC, MS, EMT-P, CSCS, ICSC, CCSP, executive director of USA Adapted Powerlifting, Scott Sutherlin, head trainer for USA Adapted Powerlifting, and Lee Hughes, assistant coach for USA Adapted Powerlifting.
“We all had our individual roles when it came to the execution of the event. We handled everything from making sure the necessary equipment and scoring materials were in place, securing spotters and loaders, and handling all athlete concerns,” Coach Hodge said.
Thanks to the hard work of this group and so many others, the 2022 Warrior Games went off without a hitch.
“The athletes were all very pleased with their performances, which was so uplifting to see. After everything they’ve been through, to come together and have success is so important to their mental and emotional health,” said Coach Hodge. “We wouldn’t have the freedoms we do without these athletes’ dedication to protecting our country, which is why it’s so important for us to give back to those who have served.”