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Army Amputee Continues To Serve Through Adaptive Sports And Reconditioning

Washington, DC (NAPSI) - Seven months after joining the Army, Sgt. Ryan McIntosh  stepped on an improvised explosive device during a routine orchard-clearing  mission in Afghanistan. 

He came home with a deeper commitment to the uniform, despite losing his  right leg below the knee.

Three years later, McIntosh continues to serve on active duty through a  special program for soldiers found medically unfit for duty.

“I’m a right leg amputee but I still wear the uniform,”   McIntosh said. “People have told me I wouldn’t be able to do a  lot of things but I didn’t limit myself.”

McIntosh made news last year when he served as a ballperson at the U.S.  Open after winning four medals at the 2012 Warrior Games, including gold in  wheelchair basketball. Now he leads the adaptive reconditioning program to  enhance soldiers’ recovery and transition at the Brooke Army Medical  Center Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) in San    Antonio, TX. Here,  soldiers like McIntosh focus on one mission: to heal and prepare for  transition. In these programs at all 29 WTUs around the country, soldiers  participate in a wide variety of sports, such as wheelchair basketball,  sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, archery and shooting, all  customized to their physical abilities.

“I’m helping other soldiers with their physical therapy by  finding sports for them to get back into,” he said. Adaptive  reconditioning activities provide a wide variety of benefits, such as less  stress, reduced dependency on pain medications and increased self-confidence.

“I have learned that I am a much stronger-willed person than I ever  imagined,” said Army Capt. Lacey Hamilton, who sustained a traumatic  brain injury and physical injuries during her own deployment to Afghanistan  and who competed with McIntosh at the Warrior Games. Hamilton earned a bronze in 2012 and  qualified for cycling and track in 2013. “I was determined to not let  my injury get in the way of living life.”

In its fourth year, more than 200 athletes qualified to compete at the  2013 Warrior Games. Wounded, ill or injured service members representing all  branches of the U.S.  military and the United Kingdom Armed Forces will compete for gold in seven  sports.

For more about the Warrior Games and wounded, ill or injured soldiers  participating in adaptive sports, visit the Warrior Transition Command  website: www.WTC.army.mil.