One Wounded Warrior Challenges Herself, Finds a New Purpose - 8 News NOW

One Wounded Warrior Challenges Herself, Finds a New Purpose

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LAS VEGAS -- About 50 wounded warriors were introduced to paralympic sport competition at Nellis Air Force Base Tuesday, and for at least one of them, it was a life changer.

Even with a debilitating injury, Staff Sgt. Melissa Guzman is an impressive athlete.

A security forces hand-to-hand combat training exercise severely damaged arteries, veins and nerves throughout her upper body.

"I don't have feeling in these three fingers, the whole backs of my arm, my chest, my back, the back of my neck," Guzman explained.

However, this day is different.

"I feel alive today," she said.

Guzman's easy smiles on the volleyball court are especially bright, considering how dark the past six years have been.

"I would lay in my bath tub and cry with the hot water on me," Guzman said.

Guzman's injury forced her into retirement. The Air Force was her life. She fell into depression.

"I felt like my life was over. I didn't know what to do. It was hard to wake up and look in the mirror and say, 'what's my purpose today?"" Guzman said.

Guzman is one of 50 wounded warriors at the five-day Adapted Sports Camp held at Nellis Air Force Base.

They have never competed before, and for some of them, it is their first time in public.

 

"We're bringing them in here and telling them, 'You can play volleyball. You can play basketball. You can go swimming. You want to throw a shot put? You can do that, we will find a way and adapt," Christopher Aguilera with the 66th Combat Search and Rescue Squadron said.

After feeling alone for years, Guzman says she is part of a team again.

"It feels so good!" Guzman said.

She found a purpose.

"I feel proud of myself today that is what I did today," she said.

She says every day from now on will be different.

The Adapted Sports Camp will focus on introducing wounded warriors to competitions.

They will learn what events they want to compete in and how to use different pieces of equipment. Some may be back in April to try out for the Warrior Games that will be held in Colorado.

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