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.


 
 

 
Pg-1-photo-150612-F-EC705-058

Emerald Knights go out with bang

Emerald Knights watch a burning piano during the 308th Fighter Squadron inactivation party June 12 at Luke Air Force Base. The 308th FS and aircraft maintenance unit have packed up and are transitioning to the 314th FS standing...
 
 
2_lemery_d2

Respect — want, earn, give, but don’t lose it

Lt. Col. David Lemery We all want it, some earn it, some are given it and some lose it. Respect can be defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements. As ...
 
 

Solve problems at lowest level

Crucial in our Air Force environment today is having the proper tools and skillsets available to deal with problems. There is literally something new almost every single day that will invoke problem solving skills. When faced with a problem, an important mindset to have is to resolve the issue at the lowest possible level. Some...
 

 

News Briefs June 26, 2015

607th ACS change of command Lt. Col. Charles Jones will relinquish command of the 607th Air Control Squadron to Lt. Col. Jerald Canny in a ceremony at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Hangar 999.   CMS change of command Maj. Scott Hall will relinquish command of the 56th Component Maintenance Squadron to Maj. Anthony Sutton in...
 
 

Fighting Falcons arrive at Holloman

Courtesy photo Six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 308th Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base arrive in formation June 16 at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The 308th FS has inactivated and the soon to be activated 314th FS assumes the 308th FS mission of training F-16 pilots as a 56th Fighter Wing...
 
 
5_Courtesy-photo

Monsoon season blows in storms, rain, dust

Courtesy photo Arizona is known for being sunny with clear skies for the majority of the year, but every year “it” happens. As the clouds roll in, the sky darkens with thunderbolts streaming overhead, and the first drops of...
 




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>