Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program
The 2019 Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games will be held June 21 to 30 in Tampa Bay, Florida. Approximately 300 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans will participate in the Paralympic-style competition. The athletes will represent the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Special Operations Command. Historically, the Warrior Games have also invited international partner nations, and this year, athletes from the United Kingdom Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Netherlands Defence Force and the Denmark Defence Command will compete. It will be the seventh time for athletes from the U.K., third time for athletes from Australia, the second time for the Canadian team and the first for the Netherlands and the Danish Armed Forces.
Teams include active-duty, reserve component and veterans with upper-body, lower-body and spinal cord injuries, as well as those with traumatic brain injuries, visual impairment, serious illness and post-traumatic stress. The athletes will engage in friendly competition and experience the healing power of sports.
The 2019 Warrior Games will feature 13 sports: archery, cycling, track, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, rowing, powerlifting, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby and, for the first time in Warrior Games history, golf. To qualify for the 2019 Warrior Games teams, athletes participate in camps, clinics, trials or similar means for their respective service teams.
This year the Warrior Games will be hosted for the first time by U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida. It’s the first time the Games will be conducted with a limited budget and operated under a gift-proffering system. Bringing the Warrior Games to Tampa and using a proffer system boosts the involvement between the local Tampa area community, our service members, athletes, and their families.
The Warrior Games were established to enhance the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded, ill and injured service members and to expose them to adaptive sports. Visitors and participants will walk away with a better understanding of adaptive sports through an exciting and entertaining atmosphere, and will gain with additional understanding of how to support our athletes.
The 2019 Games promise to live up to the success of previous games and will be memorable for the athletes, enjoyable for their caregivers and family members, and inspirational and educational for spectators and other supporters.
What are the Warrior Games?
Created in 2010, the DoD Warrior Games introduce wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans to Paralympic-style sports. Warrior Games showcases the resilient spirit of today’s wounded, ill or injured service members from all branches of the military. These athletes have overcome significant physical and behavioral injuries and prove that life can continue after becoming wounded, ill or injured.
When and where will the DoD Warrior Games competition take place?
The 2019 DoD Warrior Games is scheduled for June 21-30, 2019 in Tampa Bay, Florida. Opening and closing ceremonies athletic competitions will take place at venues inside the greater Tampa Bay area, to include The Amalie Arena, The Tampa Convention Center, University of South Florida and the Long Aquatic Service. Conducting the Games outside of MacDill Air Force Base to allow the greater Tampa Bay community to show their support for our nation’s wounded.
Why are Warrior Games being held in Tampa Bay?
Tampa Bay was selected by Department of Defense because of the supportive relationship between the military and the greater Tampa Bay community enabling interaction between our wounded, ill or injured warriors and the citizens they defend.
What is the difference between Warrior Games and Invictus Games?
During the DoD Warrior Games, athletes represent their respective service and the U.S. Special Operations Command and compete against each other. Invictus Games is an international competition and selected U.S. service members and veterans compete as one team, representing the U.S. Participation in the Warrior Games is integral to the service member’s recovery process. Competitions like Warrior Games aid in holistic healing of wounded, ill and injured service members throughout their recovery and rehabilitation process: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically and socially.
Are you connected to the Wounded Warrior Project?
We are not connected. The Warrior Games are Department of Defense (DoD) funded, while the Wounded Warrior Project is a separate, nonprofit organization.
What sports will athletes compete in at the 2019 Warrior Games?
The DoD Warrior Games will feature athletes competing in 14 adaptive sports: archery, cycling, track, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, powerlifting, time-trial cycling indoor rowing and, for the first time in Warrior Games history, golf, wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby.
How many athletes will participate in the 2019 Warrior Games?
We expect more than 400 U.S. military and international service members and veterans to participate in the 2019 Warrior Games. The athletes will represent the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Special Operations Command. Historically, the Warrior Games have also invited international partner nations, and this year, athletes from the United Kingdom Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, Canadian Armed Forces, the Netherlands Defence Force, and the Danish Defence Force will compete. It will be the seventh time for athletes from the U.K., third time for athletes from Australia, the second time for the Canadian team and the first for the Netherlands and Denmark..
Who is eligible to participate?
Wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans can all apply to participate through their respective services. Athletes qualified for the 2019 Warrior Games by participating in structured camps, clinics, trials and daily adaptive sports activities that were executed nationwide with support from the DoD Office of Warrior Care Policy Military Adaptive Sports Program. The athletes are able to compete based on their professionalism, dedication and determination, as well as the military medical teams and families supporting their recovery.
Are the Warrior Games open to athletes from other countries?
Yes, the Department of Defense have invited athletes from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Denmark to the 2019 Warrior Games. For the first time, athletes from The Netherlands and Denmark will participate. This will be the seventh time athletes from the U.K Armed Forces will compete, the third time for athletes from the Australian Defence Force, the second time for the Canadian Armed Forces athletes and the first time for Denmark and the Netherlands.
What role is Fisher House playing for the 2019 Warrior Games?
As our athletes progress in their recovery, our focus this year is to ensure an integrated, meaningful and memorable experience for both our athletes and their families. Supporting this important goal, the Fisher House Foundation is fully funding two guests for every U.S. athlete to attend the 2019 Warrior Games in support of their competing warrior and hosting a variety of family activities during the Games themselves to create an unforgettable experience for all involved.
Why are the DoD Warrior Games important to the Department of Defense and the Armed Services?
It is our duty as Americans to care, provide and advocate for our wounded, ill or injured warriors and support them to lead the fullest lives possible. DoD applauds efforts to shine a spotlight on the sacrifices of wounded, ill or injured warriors, as well as the tremendous healing power of sports. The goal of Warrior Games is to use sports to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country.
What types of injuries do the athletes have?
Participating athletes have wounds, injuries and illnesses such as amputations, spinal cord injuries, and visual impairments. Some injuries and illnesses are not always visible (i.e. TBI, cancer, post-traumatic stress), and not all are endured in combat. The Games provide an opportunity for athletes to showcase their healing and recovery through adaptive sports, providing opportunities for athletes to heal and to regain confidence and purpose. The DoD Warrior Games offers a way to celebrate their efforts and commitment to healing.
How many times can an athlete participate in the Warrior Games?
Because the DoD Warrior Games were designed to be part of a service member’s rehabilitation and recovery, athletes are allowed to participate in the Warrior Games twice. This is to ensure as many service members get the opportunity to compete, experience the healing camaraderie and spirit of competition through the Warrior Games.
Can individuals who compete in the Warrior Games, compete in other athletic events – such as the Paralympics?
The DoD Warrior Games athletes can participate in other athletic competitions, which include the Paralympics, Invictus Games and Valor Games, among others. Several Warrior Games athletes have gone on to set world-records and win Paralympic medals as a result of their experience during the Warrior Games.
The links below provide details for how to contact the respective wounded warrior program:
U.S. Army Warrior Care and Transition: http://www.wct.army.mil/index.html
U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment: http://www.woundedwarriorregiment.org
U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Wounded Warrior: http://www.navywoundedwarrior.com
U.S. Special Operations Command Care Coalition: http://www.socom.mil/CareCoalition/Default.aspx
Once enrolled, warriors may then participate in structured camps, clinics, trials and daily adaptive sports activities that are executed nationwide with support from the Department of Defense's military adaptive sports program. Athletes are able to compete based on their professionalism, dedication and determination and that of their military medical teams' and families' supporting their recovery efforts.
Anyone can refer an active-duty Airman into the AFW2 program; download the worksheet by clicking the button below and submit the finalized form via email.