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Warrior Games kick-off with volleyball, basketball, archery

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Friday was the first day of competition at the Department of Defense Warrior Games. (WLS)

Friday was the first day of competition at the Department of Defense Warrior Games.

The games are taking place at a number of venues across Chicago over the next week. On the first day of competition, the athletes were at McCormick Place for shooting, volleyball and basketball.

After months of training, the warriors are more than ready to compete. On the surface it looks like a competition, but it is much more than that.

"I have been practicing swimming more than I can even imagine. That is my biggest goal right now is to kill it," said Staff Sgt. Danielle Pothoof of the U.S. Marine Corps.

"I will definitely be focused. I do have my eye on the prize. We will see," said Staff Sgt. Matt Cable of U.S. Air Force.

There are 265 athletes from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia in Chicago for the Department of Defense Warrior Games, created in 2010 for wounded, injured or ill service members and veterans. The games feature eight adaptive sports including archery, cycling, shooting, volleyball and swimming.

This is the first time the games have been held off base.

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Friday was the first day of competition at the Department of Defense Warrior Games.



"I am a hundred percent better because of this program," said Tech. Sgt. Jett Blackwell of the U.S. Air Force.

The games feature eight adaptive sports including archery, shooting, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

"This is my first time ever being at the Warrior games and seeing all these warriors adapt and overcome their physical and mental disabilities it's an honor to be here," said Staff Sgt. Matt Cable with the U.S. Air Force.

A place where these service members and veterans can not only compete, but also find some much needed support.

"We don't want to be treated differently. We wanted to be treated the same. And that type of understanding, camaraderie only happens in an atmosphere where everybody is on the same page," said Sgt. 1st Class Josh Lindstrom of the U.S. Army.

Special Operations Command and Army faced off in sitting volleyball on Friday morning and the competitors were in it to win it.

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Friday was the first day of competition at the Department of Defense Warrior Games.



The athletes said the games help with their recovery.

"It takes a long time to recover. I mean years. I'm still improving five years later. You need something to get out of bed for. Something to give purpose back to your life when you're injured, especially in the military, that's taken away," said Sergeant First Class Joshua Lindstrom with Team SOCOM.

The opening ceremony will be Friday night at Soldier Field, where Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson will perform.

The games run through July 8 and the events are free to attend.

CLICK HERE to get tickets.

CLICK HERE to see the full schedule.

CLICK HERE for more information about the 2017 DoD Warrior Games.

Related Topics:
sportswarrior gamesveteransveterancompetitionNear South Side
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