Disabled US Veterans Race in New York City Marathon
The annual New York City Marathon saw some courageous participants this year. Among the racers was a team of disabled veterans who completed the race using their handcycles.
Nonprofit organization Achilles International brought together a group of army veterans who, despite their disabilities, were actively involved during the event. Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Wood was one of the participants in the marathon. Using his handcycle, he was able to finish the race within about an hour and 35 minutes.
Inside Edition covered the event and Wood said: “Being on this bike has a lot of power, has a lot of capabilities to help you, heal you, to help you understand that your new normal is okay.”
Wood was severely injured by three anti-tank missiles in 2007, which left him disabled. He has lost a leg and his left foot as well as suffered damage to several body parts including his small and large intestines and parts of his right lungs. His spinal cord was also broken in several places and he received third degree burns to his right side.
About the marathon, Wood said: “[The New York City Marathon] has helped me mentally leaps and bounds, but more importantly, it has helped me emotionally, spiritually, and physically, and it’s helped me to understand that because I can’t do one thing, doesn’t mean I can’t do a new thing better.”
Several other disabled veterans joined Wood in this year’s race, including Ezequiel Sepulveda, a former Corporal of the U.S. Marine Corps. Sepulveda suffers from Inclusion Body Myositis or IBMI, an inflammation of the muscles, which was caused by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in Afghanistan.
Achilles Freedom Team is a group from Achilles International which aims to help war veterans get their lives back to normal through engaging in sports. Wood said: “I have goals and aspirations since I’ve met Achilles. They taught me how to push myself beyond boundaries that I haven’t even thought of before.”
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