Air Force reservist who turned trauma into passion for archery to compete in 2022 Warrior Games

After a life-altering injury, Diana Romero was encouraged to sign up for an adaptive sport and became involved in archery.

ByAnthony Johnson WLS logo
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Air Force reservist from New Jersey heading to Warrior Games
An Air Force reservist who suffered life-altering injuries is ready to compete. Anthony Johnson has her story.

CLARK, N.J. -- The Warrior Games will kick off this week at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World for the first time since 2019.

The event celebrates the resiliency and dedication of wounded, ill and injured service members as they compete in adaptive sporting events.

This year, nearly 300 athletes will vie for the top prize -- including Diana Romero, a woman from New Jersey who has turned a traumatic experience into a targeted passion.

Back in February of 2015, Romero was involved in a horrible accident after leaving her Air Force reserve unit at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

A snow storm hit quickly and her vehicle hydroplaned into an oncoming truck. She suffered a crushed pelvis, spinal damage and leg and head injuries.

That's when her military family came through.

"The Air Force Wounded Warrior program came to me while I was in the ICU and signed me up for their program," Romero said. "Their program believes in rehabilitating through adaptive sports."

With the support of her own family, she was encouraged to keep going and became involved in archery.

"I was scared. I didn't even think I could go do a sport. I had never done sports before except for dancing salsa," Romero said.

Under the watchful eye of Columbia University Coach Derek Davis, she is ready to let it fly.

"Then I fell in love with the breathing, the sound of the shots hitting the target," Romero said.

Now she is headed down to Orlando, Florida, for the competition.

Romero is ranked nationally in the masters' division, so she is not nervous about facing the best of the best from other military services.

"I've been training for two years, so I'm ready to go," she said. "I'm more excited for the camaraderie and being amongst fellow veterans, even different services, and having that beautiful experience of competing together and helping each other out."

Hosted by the U.S. Army, the 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games will take place from August 19-28.

Live coverage will be available on ESPN+ beginning on Friday, Aug. 19, with the opening ceremony.

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