Sports

May 16, 2014

Wheelchair racing becomes Marine’s passion

Tags:
Senior Airman MARCY COPELAND
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Marine Cpl. Ivan Sears races around the track May 8 at Luke Air Force Base where he trained during the Paralympics Desert Challenge in Mesa. Sears is a fourth generation Marine, who, after being injured in 2010, became a silver and gold medal winner during the Wounded Warrior Games. For more photos and Paralympic training story, see Page 16.

For many, Luke Air Force Base is a place where people work and physically train to maintain the Air Force fitness standards, but for Marine Cpl. Ivan Sears, it is a place that can lead to a spot on the Paralympic Team for international competition.

Sears joined the Marine Corps in October of 2008 as a fourth-generation Marine. During his first deployment to Afghanistan in 2010, Sears was injured when a roadside bomb detonated, launching shrapnel into his arms and legs and leaving him with a concussion. Sears rejoined his unit for a three-day operation after recovering and being medically cleared.

On the last day of patrol, his unit returned to the forward operating base. It was here, at the closure of his first patrol back from his first injury, Sears stepped on an improvised explosive device buried inside the doorway to the compound. The blast propelled him 20 feet into the air, instantly amputating his legs. As his body hit the ground, all Sears could taste was dirt and see a cloud of dust around him. Members of Sears’s unit quickly treated his wounds, saving his life. He was medically evacuated from the FOB for further treatment.

Sears worked his way out of an emotional two-month slump after months of painful and intense physical therapy learning how to operate his body again. He began working toward a new mission of wheelchair racing.

“I had to push through it,” Sears said. “Life is going to live on. No one is going to stop living, so I had to learn to basically grow up again, to relearn everything.”

Wheelchair racing is open to athletes with any qualifying type of disability. Amputees, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and partially sighted when combined with another disability may qualify to participate in the wheelchair racing event. A modified wheelchair with the standard two side wheels and a third wheel on the front is used in sprints, middle-distance and long-distance racing. This became Sears’s new passion.

Sears is still an active-duty Marine and performs two jobs for the Marine Corps. He works with families of wounded warriors at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. He takes care of all their needs so their full attention can be given to their wounded family member. His second job is representing the Marine Corps, competing in the Paralympics.

“Never give up on life,” he said. “Never take anything for granted, especially the little things. That is what I’ve learned after being deployed and coming home injured. You appreciate all the little things in life because you’re here to enjoy it.”

Sears has competed nationally and internationally and has won gold and silver medals at the 2013 Warrior Games. He hopes to join the U.S. Paralympic Team one day and be on the top podium receiving the gold.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy graphic

Fitness center gets Xtreme makeover

Courtesy graphic Above is an architectural rendering of the changes to the outside of the Luke Air Force Base Bryant Fitness Center. Renovations also include a remodel of most of the interior. The project will take place over t...
 
 

People — Air Force’s greatest asset

As I reflect on almost 25 years of military service, I find it easy to remember my assignments, the multiple jobs I’ve had and duties I have performed. I have served on four continents and for four presidents. Within that same time period, our nation has been in numerous campaigns ranging from operations Desert Storm...
 
 

Character, good or bad, will be passed on

Your character is who you are when no one is watching. At the same time, your character is who you are when everyone is watching. Your character is the sum of your morals and values and the quality of your character is of the utmost importance when leading others. In addition to your own values...
 

 
Senior Airman 
JAMES HENSLEY

History gets paint job

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY James Bridges and Hayden Yager, civilian contractors, prepare the F-104C Starfighter static display for painting Aug. 12 in the Luke Air Force Base Airpark. The static displays in the airpark will be ...
 
 

News Briefs August 29, 2015

Base-wide exercise The 56th Fighter Wing will begin an active-shooter exercise between 8 and 10 a.m. Thursday. It is expected to continue throughout the day. The exercise will include military and local, county and state law enforcement, and fire departments. On and off-base residents should expect traffic disruptions, gate closures or delays, and interruption of...
 
 
Tech. Sgt. 
BARBARA PLANTE

944th Airmen live life as military couple

Tech. Sgt.BARBARA PLANTE Staff Sgt. Adam Jenkins and Senior Airman Cassandra Jenkins, 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron, are a dual-military couple and work together as maintainers in the refueling vehicle maintenance shop. St...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>