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NEWS | June 24, 2024

Know the warrior: Army Staff Sgt. Derrick Thompson prepares to make his mark

By Army Sgt. Jason Goselin Department of Defense Warrior Games

Athletes and their family members, volunteers, and staff assembled to kick off the start of the 2024 Department of Defense Warrior Games at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, which began June 21, 2024.

The DOD Warrior Games are an annual series of adaptive sports events and a platform for competition, but they are also an avenue of rehabilitation and community for the participants. 

As the athletes descended upon Orlando, Florida, they prepared themselves mentally and physically for the competition ahead. One of these warriors, Army Staff Sgt. Derrick Thompson is excited to compete for a second time. 

“This will be my second year of the Warrior Games,” Thompson said. “In 2023, I became a multi-medalist and had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people.”

Thompson came from the Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the DOD’s largest medical care facility and its only Level 1 trauma center. 

The DOD Warrior Games include many events like swimming, archery, wheelchair basketball, and many other adaptive sports. While Thompson is competing in several events, he’s most excited about the 100-meter sprint.

“My favorite event is the 100-meter sprint,” Thompson said. “In high school, I ran distance and I’ve always run distance for the Army, but doing this sprint, I’ve gotten my time down to 10.83 seconds.”

Thompson expressed his desire to achieve a 9-second time as there will be numerous athletes competing in the 100-meter sprint event alongside him. 

“To people who are doing the Warrior Games, this is like a second chance to get a piece of yourself back from your hospital journey, or illness, or sickness. This kind of stuff gets your endorphins up and boosts your mood, it’s vital.”

Thompson highlighted the competitor’s spirit and willingness to overcome their personal adversity to achieve and excel in the realm of sport. 

“The public should know that there are servicemembers out here doing great things and willing to persevere,” said Thompson. “They come out to compete and push themselves and try to be better than before.”

Thompson’s family is one of the biggest motivators behind both his recovery and his drive to succeed.

“I want to give a shoutout to my wife, my two daughters, and my son. I told my wife I would wear the shirt she got me for Father’s Day, and I’m a man of my word.”

For more information on the competition and the competitors, visit the Teams Page. Track events begin on June 27.