City officials announced Thursday that San Antonio will play host next summer to the U.S. Department of Defense Warrior Games, an annual competition involving wounded, ill, or injured service members and veterans.
San Antonio is the first Texas city to host the Warrior Games since the Department of Defense began organizing it in 2015. Mayor Ron Nirenberg and retired Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala, the City’s director of military and veteran affairs, joined military representatives and a few competing athletes at Brooke Army Medical Center on Thursday to announce the news.
Nirenberg said with San Antonio being known as Military City, USA, the 2020 Warrior Games will also be a homecoming for service members who previously trained or were stationed locally.
“The Warrior Games are also an opportunity to raise the profile of the Marine Corps and military presence in San Antonio,” he said.
The U.S. Olympic Committee originally helped the Defense Department organize the Warrior Games as a way to further the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded warriors through adaptive sports, demonstrating that wounded warriors are capable of competing at a high level.
U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, will host this year’s Warrior Games June 21-30. This year’s competition will involve 300 recovering service members and veterans representing five U.S. military branches – as well as armed forces in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, and Denmark – competing in 14 sports, such as wheelchair basketball and rugby, sitting volleyball, golf, and shooting.
Ayala was a Marine Corps commander in 2015 when Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia hosted the Warrior Games.
“I can tell you from personal experience you’re in for a special event,” he said.
Ayala said the City is still determining which venues will host competitions during the Warrior Games. He added that the Alamodome and local university facilities are currently under review.
Marine Cpl. Mathew Maddux, a service member with the Wounded Warrior Detachment- San Antonio, is co-captain for the Marine Corps team at this year’s Warrior Games. He has been named an ambassador for the 2020 event.
Maddux has undergone more than 20 surgeries for injuries he suffered in a 2017 live-fire exercise when a cooling fan in his tank malfunctioned and exploded. He said being part in athletic competitions for wounded warriors, including last year’s Warrior Games, has been a positive aspect in his recovery efforts.
He competed for the Ultimate Champion title in the 2018 Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, representing the Marine Corps in seven different sports.
“I still get to represent the Marine Corps,” Maddux said of competing in the Warrior Games. “I still get to prove, mentally more than anything, that I’ve overcome and can still fight.”
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Brown, who is stationed at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, recently qualified
for his first Warrior Games, in Tampa. He will compete in shooting, track and field, rowing, and volleyball.
Brown said he looks forward to competing at this year’s competition and hopes to make the Army team when the Warrior Games come to San Antonio in 2020.
“San Antonio is a good community,” he said. “A lot of a good things have happened here for us” in the military.