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Slow Start for Navy Means High Hopes for Future

By Navy Petty Officer 1st Class R. Jason Brunson
Defense Media Activity

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 13, 2010 – The numbers tell the story. Or, do they?

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Navy Petty officer 1st Class Daniel Hathorn competes as a member of the Navy wheelchair basketball team in the inaugural Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2010. U.S. Navy photo by Petty officer 1st Class R. Jason Brunson

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

An early look at the scorecard reflects a winless record for Navy after the first two days of competition at the inaugural Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center here.

In the May 11 preliminary rounds, the Army and Air Force edged out Navy in sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. The Marine Corps came out on top for that evening.

But Navy’s team coach Mark Heniser said that although they didn’t get a win, the team did pretty well and came out with a respectable score, considering they had never played together before that night.

“Literally, we ran from a volleyball game to this game and put guys on the roster who had never even sat in a wheelchair before, so I think they did great,” Heniser said.

Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Hathorn said he previously had not had much experience in basketball, and that playing in a wheelchair is much harder than it appears.

“I lost a few layers of skin off my hands, but it was loads of fun. I think everyone had a great time,” Hathorn said. “We’ll get it together. We have only had had two days to gel, but doing stuff like this, even with a loss, really helps us as a team.”

Yesterday morning, the Army came on “Army Strong,” securing four of the six medals awarded during the archery competition, including the first gold medal presented in the games. Later in the afternoon, the tides seemed to change for Navy at the swim competition preliminaries, with wins in several of the individual heats.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan DeWalt said that without a doubt, the Navy’s strong point is swimming.

“I have every confidence in my teammates,” he said. “We are going to bring home a lot of medals.

DeWalt, who suffered a spinal cord injury in 2008 that left him paralyzed from his T3 vertebra and below, is a competitor in the 50-meter backstroke, and he said he looks forward to showing everyone that the Navy team will be a force to reckon with at tomorrow’s swim finals, as well as next year.


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Related Sites:
Special Report: Warrior Games
Warrior Games on Facebook


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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

5/21/2010 10:06:37 PM
As a woman who developed an incomplete spinal cord injury c 3-c6 in 1993 when I was 26, I have have learned to walk again and use my upper body. I am still weak and do it modified, but I can do it. We must prevail. I wish you all the best.
- Melissa Bogue, southport, nc

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