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Wounded Warriors Gather From Across The Country To Compete at NS Mayport

Men and women from around the country are in Jacksonville this week, competing for a spot on the Navy’s Wounded Warrior team.

Naval Station Mayport is hosting the trials in everything from shooting and swimming to wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.

Navy Intelligence Specialist Cassidy Busch is trying to qualify for all of them.  The 29-year-old suffered a spinal cord injury while on deployment in the Gulf five years ago.

“I fell about 70-feet off the side of a ship and landed on a gun mount in a rib: a small little boat,” said Busch.

For a girl who played a lot of sports growing up, she says her life, post-accident, has been frustrating. “After my injury I obviously can’t run anymore; can’t move as fast as I once did. And it kind of hit home in the fact that you’re trying to find something else to do, something else to put that energy into.”

Kyle Malloy, with the Navy’s Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor Program, said sports can be a real life-saver.

“It gets people out of their homes, out of their beds, out of some really dark places and helps them be around people that are walking their same walk and know what it’s like to be on this journey and they get to do it together and adaptive sports is just a platform for that,” Mallory said.

Cycling trials are Friday at Hanna Park. Track will be held Saturday at Fletcher High School and Malloy says the public is invited to come watch.

The top 40 athletes will make up Team Navy and compete in the Defense Department’s Warrior Games at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs this June.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter @cydwjctnews.