FALLS CHURCH, Va. –
Sgt. Carl Judd deployed as part of the crew to shut down military operations in Afghanistan.
“I was the last engineer to be on Kandahar when we shut the base down, we were systematically shutting down all US military bases in Afghanistan. Then a bomb blast on one of his visits to Bagram Air base caused a TBI,” said the construction engineer.
“I had issues with my eyes. They medevacked me to Germany and couldn’t figure out what was happening,” that was in March of 2021. The Army assigned Judd to the Fort Benning Soldier Recovery Unit (SRU) by October of 2021.
“They knew it was neurological. It took until July of 2022 to figure out I was having seizures.” Judd says the uncertainty with his health and being away from his family was a struggle. He decided to explore opportunities within the SRU to find a way back both physically and mentally.
“I struggled a lot with my well-being and my mental health over the last two years. The adaptive sports helped me see the big picture. I see people bonding and caring for each other and I missed that.” Now, he is on Team Army headed to Warrior Games Challenge.
“I was pretty excited when I learned I made Team Army.” He also made new friends within the competitiveness of the process. Spc. Colin Matthews quickly went from competitor to friend and now teammate! “We didn’t know each other from Adam but we bonded during air rifle competition. We call each other son and dad. The friendship factor that builds with competition is awesome,” said the father of three who also has three grandchildren.
The Florida native is embracing the opportunities in front of him and sees light at the end of the tunnel. He had an insurance brokerage business that ended he says, because he was gone so much in the Army. His time in the Army Recovery Care Program has shown him a different future “I changed my degree to become a mental health counselor I want to help Vets after going through this. I see the impact adaptive sports had on me and I want to help others see it.”
Judd is seeing more time training for the 2023 Warrior Games Challenge in San Diego this June and has his favorite sports he is gearing up to compete in.
“I’ve always enjoyed air rifle and it’s one of my favorite things to do. As far as physical sports, volleyball is my jam. Seated volleyball is a whole different animal and it’s very physical,” says the avid volleyball player.
“In my opinion and maybe because I’m 48 years old, seated volleyball is a bigger workout than regular volleyball” he says with a laugh. He says you must retrain yourself on how to get to the ball without using your feet and he says he feels every bit of it after playing with his fellow Team Army members.
“To know that I still have that much competitiveness and ability makes me feel good.” No doubt Sgt. Judd will feel the pride of representing the Army at the Warrior Games Challenge and for him it’s not just about winning medals.
“I miss being on a team and now I feel like I have a new family. I feel proud that I am part of Team Army.”