Army Team Physician reflects on caring for athletes during Warrior Games

WTU Force Structure U.S. Army veteran Megan Grudzinski, Strongsville, Ohio receives massage therapy between events July 2, at Lane Tech College Prep High School, Chicago, Illinois, during the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games. The DoD Warrior Games is an adaptive sports competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans. Approximately 265 athletes representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Command, United Kingdom Armed Forces, and the Australian Defence Force will compete June 30 – July 8 in archery, cycling, track, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, and wheelchair basketball. (U.S. Army photo by Robert A. Whetstone)

By Whitney Delbridge Nichels, Warrior Care and Transition

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - While Army athletes gave their top performances during the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games, Team Army’s medical team was working behind the scenes to keep them in top shape.

That team was led by Warrior Care and Transition Surgeon and Clinical Liaison Division Chief, Col. Travis Richardson, as well as two medics, a sports and rehabilitation coach, and massage therapist.

“My duties involved ensuring the health and well-being of all of the Army athletes,” Richardson said. “This included managing any minor acute medical issues and also any sports related injuries.”

Richardson stated that the medical team saw an average of 10-20 athletes per day. The medical experts were also tasked with assessing whether or not athletes who sustained injuries could continue competing or not.

Richardson says there was only one significant injury for Team Army during the competition.

“The athlete suffered a broken hand as a result of crashing her bike during the cycling competition. She was taken to a local hospital where she was evaluated and treated. She could not return to play for the remainder of the Games as a result of her injury,” he said.

The 2017 Games was Richardson’s last with WCT as he prepares to take on a new role at the end of July. He says assisting with Warrior Games is one of the many things he will miss about being part of the organization.

“I’ll miss watching them compete despite the challenges they have faced to get to this point in their recovery and rehabilitation,” Richardson said. “I’ve enjoyed playing a small part in ensuring our wounded, ill and injured Soldiers have the best medical care and transition services to help them return to duty or assist in their successful transition to Veteran status. It has been a great honor to be a part of this important program.”