Skokie native, Air Force veteran competes in 2022 Warrior Games after aneurysm, stroke

Rob Elgas Image
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
Skokie veteran competes in 2022 Warrior Games after aneurysm, stroke
Warrior Games 2022 competitor Christian Vega is an Air Force veteran who suffered a brain aneurysm in 2015 and then later a stroke.

SKOKIE, Ill. (WLS) -- Christian Vega, an Air Force veteran and Skokie native, is the torchbearer for the 2022 Warrior Games and a competitor in some of its events.

In high school, Vega was a swimmer, competed in cross country and was a gymnast. Now he's a two-medal winning Warrior Games competitor, and more.

In 2015, on his Air Force base at the chow hall, Vega collapsed from a brain aneurysm.

"I just collapsed on the floor and they took me to the hospital," he recalled.

"When the doctor told my mom, 'Ma'am your son will probably be a vegetable the rest of his life,' my Mom was like 'not my son'," he said.

Later, he would have a stroke. He had to re-learn things most of us take for granted: speaking, walking, using his legs again.

"I learned to walk three times in my life," said Vega. "Once when I was a bay. Once after my brain aneurysm. And once after my stroke."

Vega competed in four Warrior Games sports, including shootings.

"I love doing track, I love doing swimming. And I love doing cycling," he said.

So far, he has won and silver and a bronze medal in cycling. He's a leader around his fellow teammates. And his success, he said, has come from above.

"God didn't leave me by the wayside. He raised me up. And I'm here today because of God and because of the Air Force and the Warrior program. Because without them I wouldn't know where I would be," he said.

Vega was chosen by his team to be this year's torchbearer, but it got rained out. He was also chosen by his teammates last year but the games didn't happen because of the pandemic.

Head to ESPN+ for full coverage of the Warrior Games through August 28, and click here to see a full schedule of coverage and events.