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Warrior Games: What It Is and Why It Is So Important for Wounded Veterans

Wounded warriors participate in WWP’s Soldier Ride, an adaptive cycling event that empowers warriors by increasing their skills and building confidence. The DoD Warrior Games also uses adaptive sports to highlight the toughness of injured veterans.
Wounded warriors participate in WWP’s Soldier Ride, an adaptive cycling event that empowers warriors by increasing their skills and building confidence. The DoD Warrior Games also uses adaptive sports to highlight the toughness of injured veterans.

Athletes from across the country will converge in Orlando from June 21-30 to represent the U.S. military in a sporting competition known as Warrior Games.

The Department of Defense holds this unique event to gather hundreds of wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans to compete in an array of adaptive sports.

The event highlights the physical and mental toughness of athletes participating and how competing helps them on their recovery journeys. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is a proud event sponsor of Warrior Games, and many warriors registered with WWP™ are among the competitors.

Here's more about the Warrior Games and why physical health and wellness are important for a warrior’s well-being.

What is Warrior Games?

Which Sports Are Part of Warrior Games?
  • Archery
  • Cycling
  • Field
  • Golf
  • Indoor rowing
  • Powerlifting
  • Precision air sports
  • Sitting volleyball
  • Swimming
  • Track
  • Wheelchair basketball
  • Wheelchair rugby

Warrior Games is an annual adaptive sports competition held by the Department of Defense (DoD) to highlight the amazing injured, ill, and wounded athletes who are serving or who have served in the U.S. military. The competition is part of the DoD Warrior Care program, which helps wounded veterans and service members improve their physical and mental health and quality of life through adaptive sports and competition.

“First and foremost, the Warrior Games are designed to enhance recovery by engaging wounded, ill, and injured service members outside of traditional therapy settings,” said WWP Physical Health and Wellness Vice President James Herrera. “The [Warrior Care] program hopes to inspire recovery and physical fitness and encourage new opportunities for growth and achievement.”

When did the Warrior Games begin?

The first Warrior Games took place in 2010. It has been held every year since, except for 2020 and 2021, when it was canceled due to the pandemic.

Who competes in the Warrior Games?

Competitors include wounded, ill, and injured active-duty service members and veterans representing all branches of the U.S. military – Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Space Force, and U.S. Special Operations Command.

Learn more about the Warrior Games and some WWP warriors who are competing. 

How are competitors selected?

Each U.S. service team holds trials or team selection events nationwide to determine their final roster for the Warrior Games.

Do winners receive medals?

Yes. Each sport and classification has gold, silver, and bronze medals. At the medal awards ceremony, the athletes with the highest individual and team totals are also recognized.

When and where are the 2024 Warrior Games?

The 2024 event will be held June 21-30 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.

Can I attend the Warrior Games to support the competitors?

Yes. The public is invited, and there is no cost to attend. 

How WWP Helps Warriors Improve Physical Health

WWP is heavily involved with Warrior Games and understands the importance of physical health and wellness on a veteran’s overall quality of life.

Wounded warriors play basketball in a WWP Adaptive Sports clinic.
Wounded warriors play basketball in a WWP Adaptive Sports clinic.

WWP’s Physical Health and Wellness program helps warriors live healthier lives by improving sleep hygiene, nutrition, and risk factors for chronic disease through coaching, goal setting, and education.

In WWP’s most recent Warrior Survey*, more than 54 % of WWP warriors reported using physical activity as a resource or tool to help them with feelings of stress or emotional or mental health concerns.

“Our Physical Health and Wellness programs provide warriors an opportunity to build healthy social connections, known to reduce suicide risks, and improve the management of stress, anxiety, and depression,” James said.

WWP also offers an adaptive sports program that empowers warriors to reach their highest potential through sports. Through clinics, warriors are trained to use adaptive equipment and to develop or improve athletic skills. The program also connects warriors to local resources and other veterans through sports.

“Adaptive sports can continue or rebuild the competitive fire that our service members and veterans experienced during their service time,” James said. “This is especially important following an injury. … The adaptive sports program is just one facet of the continuum of recovery and care our active-duty and veteran warriors receive.”

Learn more about how WWP helps warriors through adaptive sports.

*Warrior Survey, Wave 2 (conducted June 15-Aug. 24, 2022)

Contact: — Paris Moulden, Public Relations, pmoulden@woundedwarriorproject.org, 904.570.7910

About Wounded Warrior Project

Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.

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