NEWS | May 6, 2022

I didn’t know the Army cared this much about me

By MaryTherese Griffin Army

 On March 27, 2021, five soldiers on deployment were in a car accident in Germany. U.S. Army Spc. Corine Hamilton, a logistics specialist, was a passenger in the back seat. She took the brunt of the crash which rolled the car several times. She says everyone survived thank goodness, but she sustained a facial fracture to the eye and a crushed spine.

“My life is totally different, nothing like I imagined it would be. I had to learn to adapt.” She recalls that fateful day in disbelief even today. “At the scene of the accident I didn’t know I couldn’t walk I just thought ok my leg is not moving its swollen maybe it’s just injured.” She had a nine-hour surgery on her spine, and it wasn’t until the next day that the doctors in Germany told her she was paralyzed. “I was shattered to be honest,” she says.

“At first I was depressed and thought I’m never doing sports again.” Adaptive reconditioning is not just helping her with sports, she says it’s helping her body heal and it all started at the Walter Reed Soldier Recovery Unit. She had more than physical obstacles to overcome as her physical therapy assistant Amber Strittmatter explains.

“When we first started asking her to complete at Army Trials, she wanted nothing to do with it,” Strittmatter said. “She was pretty upset about her injuries. As we started showing her, her new norm and what she can do versus what she can’t do anymore, it’s has really been inspiring to see her grow and look at her now.”

Hamilton is in a wheelchair and adapting to the sports she thought she’d never play again. She hopes to be selected to be on Team Army for the DoD Warrior Game this summer, but already feels like a winner and is humbled.

“I can’t believe all these people in ARCP (Army Recovery Care Program), the support and love that I feel here at Army Trials and at the SRU… I had no idea the Army cared about me this much.”

After competing in rowing and field events, Hamilton is embracing her new normal in the sports arena with gusto and gratitude.

“I’m so grateful for the Army Recovery Care Program because it shows that people care about injured Soldiers, and the programs they have helps us be better and see things differently. As a person who was involved in sports it gives me hope with the adaptive reconditioning we go through to get better.”

She takes her role as a Soldier in recovery seriously and wants to help future Soldiers who may need the SRU one day. She wants to be the example.

“I would tell Soldiers to push yourself, try different things and accept the support because it’s there. I see it and feel it and you will too.”