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NEWS | July 19, 2012

Injured service members show resilience, endurance in the 'Mini-Try'

By Maria Gallegos BAMC Public Affairs

More than 85 wounded service members took their rehabilitation to the next level in the Center for the Intrepid Mini-Try at Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston May 18.

The 5th annual Mini-Try, a non-competitive sports event, consisted of a 500-meter swim, 10-mile bicycle ride and a 2-mile run/walk. The event was followed by a community brunch for participants, family members, staff and volunteers.

Maj. Terrance Fee, officer-in-charge of CFI physical therapy and Mini-Try coordinator, explained why it is called the Mini-Try instead of Triathlon. "A mini-triathlon is basically a triathlon comprised of three separate events," he said. "The word 'try' is just a way to let each patient 'try' to achieve their personal goals. We do not use this Mini-Try as a competitive event among the participants, rather a means for each to challenge their own selves and see what they can achieve functionally.

"Also, the event provides a community event where patients, staff and families can interact in a non-clinical environment," he added.

Participants included Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom patients of Brooke Army Medical Center, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and soldiers from Canada and the Republic of Georgia.

"I am so proud of my husband," said Amy Juarez, wife of Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Juarez, who was injured in Afghanistan two years ago. "This is his second year competing in this event; the first time he was only able to participate in one activity, but today he is able to compete in all three."

His mom, Norma Rogers, agreed, "I never thought two years ago he would be here doing this; this is amazing." Juarez was on foot patrol when he was shot by a sniper resulting in his injuries.

"I believe each participant builds a strong sense of satisfaction and accomplishment knowing they have succeeded in doing something that they did not think possible earlier in their rehab," said Fee. "There are some patients who just received a prosthetic leg a few days ago and will try to go as far as they can but only get a few hundred feet from the start of the race, which is fine. They are content with what they have achieved."

The event is a joint effort by many organizations that came together in making this year's Mini-Try a success, said Fee, noting his gratitude to the Paralympics Military Program, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Operation Comfort, Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled Sports USA, Morale Welfare and Recreation, the 502 Force Support Squadron, Alamo City Gator club and the Jason George Memorial Foundation.