Wounded vet with ties to Lutz competing in Warrior Games
Hometown News ServiceArmy Staff Sgt. Spencer Anderson II knows how an explosion, crash, gunshot, sickness or emotional trauma can push a military service member to a place of unfamiliarity -- the sidelines. And through the healing process, Paralympic sport gives many survivors a chance to prove anyone can overcome disability.
Anderson, whose wife, Lorena, is the daughter of Flor Paredes, of Lutz, is competing for the Army team during this week’s 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Throughout the seven-day event, wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard, as well as some from Special Operations Command, and a team from the British military will compete in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.
Anderson is competing for gold in cycling, track and sitting volleyball.
"It's an honor to represent my team and the Army. We are going to sweep the podium medals," said Anderson, who is competing in the event for his second time. "We are a great group of people willing to work hard and accomplish whatever we set out to do." Anderson said he finds the Warrior Games very rewarding. “The sense of team was one of the most rewarding moments of my career,” he said. On Jan. 21, 2007, while serving in Iraq, Anderson's vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. He temporarily lost consciousness and was later diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. He also had orthopedic injuries. He said adaptive reconditioning activities have helped him with his recovery and transition back into the military. "Training for events like the Warrior Games puts me at a level of fitness I've never experienced before," Anderson said. “The Warrior Games lets us know that though we're injured, we can compete at high levels, be productive and achieve great feats.” Since his injuries, Anderson has continued his military career and encourages newly wounded soldiers who may not feel comfortable leaving their homes to take those baby steps and try out for the team camps or at least stay motivated. He said he stays motivated because of the support he receives from his family and friends. “My family has given me 100 percent support, and it has been tremendous,” he said.