8th annual Marine Corps Trials promotes recovery, camaraderie through adaptive sports

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CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WNCT)–A week long adaptive sporting event is gearing up aboard Camp Lejeune. It’s the first time that the Marine Corps Trials will be held aboard base. Wounded warriors from across the world are participating.

They might be injured but they’re still in the fight.

One of those warriors is SSgt. Danielle Pothoof. She suffered an injury from an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2011.

“When I hit the IED, I completely crushed my lower left leg,” SSgt. Pothoof said. “I always loved sports but after my injury I couldn’t do much of anything.”

That is, until she got involved with Wounded Warrior Battalion West, and began participating in adaptive sports. Now, she’s competing for the first time in the Marine Corps Trials.

“It’s nice when you have a lot of Marines and service members come together and they’ve all been through a lot of the same things,” SSgt. Pothoof said. “When you have conversations, they understand. When you say you have problems wanting to get out of bed in the morning or wanting to wake up or just start your day, they’re like, ‘yeah, I’ve been there. I get it.’”

It’s the eighth year of the trials. About 200 athletes from Colombia, Georgia, Australia, France, Germany and the U.K. are competing in about a dozen sporting events. Wounded Warrior Battalions East and West are also represented.

“These athletes work very, very hard to be here,” Joseph Gugliotta, head coach for wheelchair basketball, said. “Each one of them has their personal conflicts and struggles that they go through every day.”

On Thursday, athletes attended a welcome brief and fittings for archery and cycling.

“It’s interesting getting to talk to everyone and getting different views of what they’re rehabs are like in their country for example,” Jake Theakston, Corps of Royal Marines, said.

The competition officially gets underway on Sunday and is open to all DoD cardholders and their sponsored guests.

The competition will conclude with a closing dinner on Saturday, March 24th.

To see a full schedule of the competition, click here.

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