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NEWS | Aug. 4, 2022

Paralysis won’t stop this Soldier from achieving dreams

By MaryTherese Griffin Army

ARLINGTON, Va.- Don’t ever think lightening doesn’t strike twice… just ask Army Staff Sergeant Jack DeLeuw. The Team Army athlete opens up about his motorcycle accidents that landed him in two Soldier Recovery Units within five years of each other. “I already had thorough knowledge of the SRU/WTB Process at Fort Sam-Houston, TX back in 2016-2017 following my first motorcycle accident on Oct 30th, 2015,” said the Army Cavalry Scout. Thankful that the Soldier Recovery Unit was there, he never expected to be back in one. Almost five years to the date another motorcycle accident happened.

“A resident living on one of the roads I was traveling on was backing out of their driveway onto the road, causing me to veer off the road into a ditch where I flew forwards over the handlebars of my motorcycle, this time causing a bursting fracture of my T-7 vertebrae in my spine,” explained DeLeuw who is now paralyzed from the waist down and is recovering at the Fort Bragg Soldier Recovery Unit.

That’s where he learned about the Department of Defense Warrior Games. “It never fails to astonish me of all the adaptations there are out there to make it possible for those who are i wounded, ill or injured to be able to participate in the activities they enjoy. Along with all the individuals like coach Adriane, Ross, and other coaches who are out there to help with assisting those who strive to better themselves at the multiple different activities they participate in.”

He met Coach Adriane Wilson and former Team Army Member and Warrior Games Ultimate Champion Ross Alewine at the 2022 Army Trials back in May. “Coach Adrian Wilson and others have inspired me and makes me strive to do my best. She and multiple others like her have shown me that with adaptations to certain things, darn near anything can be accomplished and IS possible!”

Recovering at the Fort Bragg Soldier Recovery Unit also showed DeLeuw that recovery goes beyond the physical and mental as they treat the whole Soldier. “The Fort Bragg SRU helped me mostly with getting my college process started successfully along with assisting me getting enrolled and of course they started me into the whole Warrior Games pathway as well.”

This Team Army athlete will compete at Warrior Games in Archery, Air Rifle, Seated Discus and Seated Shot put. As he embraces his new normal, he offers this advice to anyone facing sudden adversity in their lives be it visible or invisible wounds.

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do to achieve your personal goals in life. You are your only critic that can truly keep you from achieving whatever it is in your life you dream to accomplish. Don’t limit yourself to what others think of you. You can do whatever it is you want truly in your heart and mind. You’re never out of the fight. Keep pushing and never stop!!”