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NEWS | Aug. 27, 2022

Team Army Soldier credits repetition in adaptive sports with his recovery

By MaryTherese Griffin Army

To retired U.S. Army Maj. William Hammac, age is just a number. “I’m a 54-year-old guy who made it to the Warrior Games and now here I am making it to the finals in the rifle competition,” said, Hammac, a former aviation officer.

“I think there might be one older guy (Retired Col. Lyle Ourada) but I’m number two,” he said, laughing about being on a team full of younger Soldiers.

Hammac had a full career as an aviation officer, but it was not without hurdles and setbacks. He deployed multiple times and on one deployment in particular, his life changed.

“When I was in Iraq, I was in a missile blast and injured from shrapnel,” he explained. Hammac helped several people during this ordeal and was subsequently awarded the bronze star for his actions as well as a purple heart. He said since it was early in the war, programs like the Army Recovery Care Program were not around yet. “It was later discovered I had cognitive issues from TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), but I was able to finish my career. I followed the Warrior Games and decided I had to try it and try to make Team Army.”

He made Team Army and is here in Orlando competing in archery, shooting and indoor rowing. His pathway here started with a visit to the doctor.

“I never really got into shooting or archery until I saw my VA doctor,” said Hammac. “She said that adaptive sports are a great way to continue to work on your cognitive issues.”

He explained that with the archery competition for example, there is a process he must follow, and repetition is the key. “I’ve got to get into my stance, get the equipment, load, preload, putting the arrow on there (target)…all that process and you must keep your feet in position; you have to keep your mind thinking about that process to make it all work.”

Hammac said it’s the same with shooting, only a little different process, as the coaches put a sheet in front of him with steps he has to go through. “Shooting also helps tremendously with conquering my TBI issues and my big events here happen to be archery and shooting.”

Hammac took the bronze in shooting for Team Army and couldn’t be happier. He is most happy about discovering and following his path with adaptive sports.

“A lot of people would probably give up and not do anything, but not here,” he stated. “These athletes are thriving because of adaptive sports.”