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NEWS | June 30, 2024

Being here is such an honor

By MaryTherese Griffin Army Recovery Care Program

Sgt. Noah Rydesky is in awe that he made Team Army and is competing at the 2024 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Orlando. “Being here is an honor; this is above and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. The excitement is amazing, and the camaraderie here is something else!”

His road to Warrior Games, he admits, is a scary one. Rydesky was assaulted and left for dead on February 13, 2022, in Colorado. “They found me the next morning at a construction site. I got frostbite from the knees down, which left me with irreversible nerve damage to both my legs, and I had a stab wound to the back of my knee.”

The 24-year-old recounts his recovery process as he shares his journey to today. “I spent some time in the hospital, then my mom took care of me for about a month, and then I went to the Fort Carson Soldier Recovery Unit. I was nervous about going because I didn’t know what it would be like, but it was beyond my expectations.”

The thought of how he got to the SRU never left him, and he struggles silently in addition to his physical wounds. He is grateful to be alive and knows things could have been worse. The reality of his limitations set in, and he credits the staff at Fort Carson’s SRU with helping him push forward.

“At first, I was in a dark place; my friends weren’t with me, I didn’t know anyone, and I was in a wheelchair. Everyone at the SRU was so nice and welcoming. They helped me every day, getting me out of my room. I met fabulous people during AR events, such as arts and crafts and painting. But when I finally got out of my wheelchair, and they showed me adaptive sports to help me recover, I instantly fell in love with them.”

Not knowing anything about adaptive sports, Rydesky quickly learned what he was good at and that making friends is a bonus victory no matter how you do in the sports or even if you compete. “When you work out and recover with people who have their stuff they went through, you have a bond, and it's an entirely different experience than a single recovery outside the SRU.”

At the Warrior Games, Rydesky competes in field, track, and his favorite sport, swimming. “Swimming is my sport, I'm a swimmer back home, and I just feel bad for the other teams because they are competing for second place. We aren’t giving 1st place to anyone- he laughed.”

“Oh, and by the way- there is healthy competition here at Warrior Games, and it is my goal to beat two Air Force Guys in particular and one of my Army teammates in the pool,” said Rydesky, who did just that—a couple of gold medals for the Superman swimmer and more hardware for Team Army.

“I want to thank my coaches and everyone back at my SRU for encouraging and pushing me—I wouldn’t be here without them!”