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Athlete defies odds, competes in Warrior Games

Spc. Elizabeth Wasil, with the World Class Athlete Program, an experienced swimmer, practices her wheelchair race events for the 2013 Warrior Games, May 7, 2013, at Carson Middle School track, at Fort Carson, Colo. Wasil will be competing in hand-cycling, wheelchair racing, shot-put and discus events held, May 11-17, 2013, at the United States Air Force Academy and the Olympic Training Center in Colorado.

After doctors told her she’d never walk again, Spc. Elizabeth Wasil ditched her wheelchair and pushed herself into the swimming pool.

“Seeing that is something I will never forget,” said Lisa Stratman, Wasil’s strength coach and World Class Athlete Program, or WCAP, assistant coach. “She used her arms and upper body to propel her through the water and started rehabbing herself.”

Wasil sustained bilateral hip injuries while she was deployed to Iraq in 2010. Through sheer determination she qualified for the Warrior Games as part of Team Army in 2012 and 2013.

“The Warrior Games changed my life,” Wasil said. “It took me from a Warrior Transition (Battalion) Soldier who was struggling to try to return to the Army, to a (WCAP) member in one year.”

A swimmer with WCAP, Wasil underwent rigorous physical therapy. Three years after her injuries, she qualified for the Paralympics in swimming. Because she qualifies in swimming events for the Paralympics, Wasil will represent the Army at the 2013 Warrior Games in wheelchair racing, shot put, discus and cycling.

Since 2011, the Warrior Games has encouraged wounded warriors from all of the services to get physically active.

The games take place Saturday through May 17 at the U.S. Air Force Academy and Olympic Training Center.

“(The games) gave me a whole new drive, showed me things I never would’ve known that I was even able to do,” Wasil said. “It gave me an entire different outlet that I didn’t know was there. It helps give injured Soldiers a really strong foundation amongst each other, because there is no better support than a fellow injured Soldier.”

Wasil’s determination has brought inspiration to others.

“She is the poster child for Paralympic games,” said Capt. Jason Barber, strength coach, WCAP. “She has overcome adversity through hard work and determination. She is a great person to be around.”

Wasil said her goal is to establish competitive times within the sports that she will be participating in, so that more female athletes have the opportunity to compete, and to represent Team Army the best that she can.

Wasil said that she is appreciative of all the Warrior Games athletes for all of the help they have given to her.

“I cannot express how grateful that I am for the support,” she said. “(The Warrior Games) is an amazing program that helps Soldiers heal.”

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About Edited by Susan Bainbridge

At age 6, Susan was destined to be a journalist and photographer.  In 1980, Susan founded Bainbridge News and The Bainbridge Chronicle Newspaper. Bainbridge News specializes in Military and National Politics, including Military Funerals and Burials and Political Funerals and Burials.  Susan has covered the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. She has covered every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Recognized for her versatility, Susan has also covered finance, crime, civil rights events, marches, sports, musical events and more. In 1990, she established Bainbridge Photography, an On-Location photography company. In addition to military and political events, including Military and Political funerals and burials, Bainbridge Photography expanded into covering ALL funerals and burials, receptions, weddings, real estate, inventory, insurance, portrait, head shot, pets, fire and Hazmat.  Miss Bainbridge believes in going the extra mile. "My Clients always come first." In 1980, Susan began her career in Washington, D.C., working for WMZQ Radio as a reporter and guest hostess from 1980 to 1985. Intrigued by radio, Susan wanted to write, freelancing for radio, television and print newspapers, including AP, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Northern Virginia Sun, The Press-Republican and The Bainbridge Chronicle (established by Susan Bainbridge). In 1986, Susan worked at WDCA-TV Channel 20 as a guest hostess for "Eye On Washington." From 1990 to 1994, Susan reported and anchored for "The Arlington Weekly News." Additionally, she produced a segment for the G. Gordon Liddy Radio Show. A prolific writer, while in high school in 1977, Bainbridge wrote an episode for NBC's "Little House on The Prairie" entitled "Laura's Best Friend." Though the show's producers did not use the script then, NBC producers encouraged Susan to pursue a writing and journalism career. Susan is a member of the National Press Club, the National Press Photographer's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Susan Bainbridge's recognitions include from former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the late actor Lorne Greene, among many others. BAINBRIDGE NEWS was founded in 1980 by Susan Bainbridge (a sixth generation writer), a third generation journalist, a first generation photographer and a fourth generation entrepreneur. She is the first generation to establish a news business. Bainbridge News is dedicated in honor of Miss Bainbridge's late grandfather and idol, Mark S. Watson (The Baltimore Sun editor and war correspondent from 1920 to his death in 1966).

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