TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – While the Warrior Games is fueled by competition, it is built on a foundation of family.
“Just being a part of the team, that comradery, and pushing for that same goal together,” said Alex Wilson. “That is kind of what I enjoy most.”
Alex retired from the Army almost eleven years ago after serving for more than four years. He told 8 On Your Side’s Gabrielle Shirley he missed that bond. Now, he feels a new sense of unity participating in the games.
“It kind of awakened that spirit within myself that not necessarily went away but just kind of went quiet,” said Alex, “because I was not part of team sports. I was not part of the Army. I was not part of that comradery that exists when you are in an atmosphere like this.”
This atmosphere is filled with athletes forever linked by their service and by their stories of survival.
“We were on patrol one night in a town north of Baghdad,” said Alex. “We had a Bradley in front, my vehicle, which was a Humvee, was second. The Bradley drove right past the IED, the roadside bomb, and we kind of drove right over it.”
He told Shirley the explosion occurred on May 31, 2007.
“The vehicle went up six to eight feet in the air. The tire underneath me went 250 meters away and, luckily, I was the only one injured in the vehicle,” he said. “For me, my left leg was hit first, and the left leg actually hit into the right and broke the right leg so I had basically a pulverized left foot and a broken left leg.”
Alex spent 15 months recovering from that injury. He had to learn how to walk without his left foot.
“To be honest, most of the things that I have done that have been really cool in my life have been since I was injured,” said Alex. “I only traveled to a few countries before I left and, now, I have traveled to over 50 countries. I learned how to scuba dive after I was injured. I have been snowboarding on two or three other continents after I was injured.”
He will add one more “cool” item to that list in a matter of days. Alex and his wife are expecting their first child. They are having a girl.
“I am pretty excited!” said Alex. “We have everything ready. I am only hoping the baby does not come until July 2 when I get home.”
The Warrior Games are officially finished on Sunday, June 30.