TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Chunté Gonzalez, an Air Force veteran, found her purpose with the help of the Warrior Games.
“What I enjoy about it is that you have to get into a relaxed space,” she said. “Then you focus your attention on something on the target so it is really intense. It is an intense sport, a competitive sport, and it is a lot of fun.”
Chunté does not have the most experience in the sport of archery. She was first introduced to it in March but she said she is already feeling its healing powers.
“What a lot of our warriors struggle with is reflecting on the past of who they used to be,” said Chunté. “But the Warrior Games and training and everything and all of the preparation that has gone into it has given me my purpose in life.”
She found her purpose during a dark time, a time that followed her 13 years of service as a defender in the Air Force.
“My injuries include PTSD, TBI, and back injuries. And also suffered a TIA as well,” Chunté told 8 On Your Side’s Gabrielle Shirley.
According to the National Stroke Association, a TIA or a transient ischemic attack produces symptoms similar to a stroke but those symptoms typically disappear within hours. A TIA does not generally cause permanent damage.
Chunté credits the Warrior Games for giving her a new identity as an athlete, a new shot at living her life to the fullest.
“I went from someone who was a recluse, who stayed at home, who stopped socializing with people,” said Chunté. “[I] was pretty much bedridden for over 18 months and not participating or being present in life as a mother, as a daughter, as a wife. And my family has their athlete back.”
Chunté is competing in a total of eight individual sports including archery, track, field, powerlifting, rowing, cycling, swimming and air rifle.
She currently lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and their five children.