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NEWS | June 23, 2024

Team Army Staff Sgt. Derrick Thompson: “This is redemption year”

By MaryTherese Griffin Army Recovery Care Program

Team Army athlete, Staff Sgt. Derrick Thompson sees this year’s Warrior Games differently from last year’s Warrior Games Challenge.

“I feel more prepared,” said Thompson. “Going through the Warrior Games Challenge last year (Naval Air Station, North Island San Diego, California) better prepared me mentally for the challenge ahead here at the Warrior Games in Orlando.”

Thompson, who had a life-threatening diabetes diagnosis three years ago, went through recovery at the Joint Base San Antonio Soldier Recovery Unit. Attending last year’s challenge allowed him to show his health progress, which he said he did cautiously.

“Last year, I held back, unsure of what was ahead,” he explained. “But this time, I won't. I'm going all in.” Thompson's resolve is evident in his achievements at the 2023 Warrior Games Challenge: a gold for the men’s 200-meter and a silver for the 100 in track.

“This is redemption this year,” said Thompson, who works in communications in the Army. “I worked on new things. I’m competing in cycling, track, archery, field, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, and wheelchair basketball.”

He has other “new” things this year besides new sports moves to share. Thompson barely returned from the Warrior Games Challenge last summer when his wife gave birth to their third child, a beautiful baby daughter. “New baby, family, getting ready to retire next year, a lot of change is coming,” he added.

Thompson said focusing on his health is what is best for his family, and competing at this level is pushing him to be all he can be. “Today, I’m doing good,” he said. “Three years ago, I came to the SRU and learned to make changes; I eat healthy and exercise. I’m better because they truly helped me.”

Thompson's approach to his 'new normal' is one of positivity and gratitude. He sees his recovery as an opportunity to turn life's challenges into something sweet. The Army Recovery Care Program and his SRU has been instrumental in his journey, with a support system he cherishes.

Not leaving any energy on the sidelines to help his beloved Team Army this year, Thompson smiles and jokingly shares this message with what he says is his excellent competitive brethren in the other services.

“We already know who is getting first, so I hope they can figure out who is getting second and third,” he said, smiling.