Wounded Warrior Pacific Invitational underway - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Wounded Warrior Pacific Invitational underway

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Competition at the Wounded Warrior Pacific Invitational is fierce with participants united by service, and sacrifice.

Steven Hancock is a wheelchair competitor from the Navy team in the shot put and discus events. He says, "I fell off a building in 2010 while deployed to Bahrain from the 5th story."

Sprinter and Senior Airman Gideon Connelly "had a bad motorcycle accident 2 years ago."

Veteran competitor Israel Del Toro told us, "I was in Afghanistan when we were ambushed. I was in a Humvee and an IED exploded underneath where I was sitting at."

The games weren't around when Del Toro was injured in 2005 and doctors gave him a diagnosis he refused to accept: "You're never going to walk again and be on a respirator for rest of your life and what was the other thing? Oh I'd be in the hospital for another year and a half."

He was out in 2 months and is now national javelin champ in the Paralympics and mentor to rookies.

Like Gideon Connelly, who's hoping to qualify for the 200 meters in the next Paralympics. He doesn't let a carbon fiber prosthetic slow him down.

"At this point, I don't even look at it as a disability" says Connelly. "Even if you have a traumatic injury, you can come back from it and you can do great things. You can help inspire others. Others can help inspire you."

Shot putter Steven Hancock is living proof you can rebound from anything. He severed his spinal cord, and suffered a broken leg, broken arm and a traumatic brain injury, but is now one one the world's top in his events.

Hancock added, "I actually made the world team this year for shot put and discus for the Paralympics and it helps stay motivated and keep pushing forward past your injuries."

The competition continues through January 11th, with a chance to move on to the Wounded Warrior Games in the fall.

 

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