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Texas native overcomes adversity, competes at 2019 Army Trials
Story by Marcy Sanchez on 03/12/2019
After deploying in support of combat, border security and humanitarian operations, there isn’t much Sgt. Christopher Campos hasn’t done.
That is until 2018, when Campos was assigned to the Fort Bliss Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB), an Army unit designed to manage care and recovery of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, to prepare them for return to duty or successful transition to civilian life.
“I’m out of the mindset I had when I first came (to the WTB). At first, I was wondering what was really going to happen to me,” said Campos, a native of Amarillo, Texas. “I learned that you don’t stop pushing, you don’t stop fighting, you make the end goal of everything yours.”
In 2017, the Texas National Guard Soldier was conducting patrol operations during a deployment to Djibouti, when loose ground caused him to fall, resulting in injuries to both knees.
“(My injuries) are a mixture of a lot wear and tear from doing infantry operations,” said Campos.
After spending several months recovering from bilateral torn meniscus in both knees, damage to cartilage, knee caps, and other injuries, Campos set out to begin his recovery at the WTB through the adaptive sports program.
“I’ve done a lot of adaptive sports, I go to the gym with physical therapists, shoot air rifle,” said Campos. “Going to adaptive sports, going to the army trials, using everything they’ve given us, it’s helped me see things in a broader aspect. There’re still things I can do to make myself better and continue to push to do my job.”
According to Campos, he’s thrilled to be competing at the 2019 Army Trials and is shooting for a spot to represent Team Army during the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games this summer at Tampa, Florida.
“My spouse says she’s proud of the fact that I’m pushing myself, learning, out here competing with all these other athletes,” said Campos, whose wife and three kids have traveled to Fort Bliss to cheer him on during the trials. “That is my goal, to go to warrior games. If I don’t make it, I gave it a shot and I’ll just have to work harder for next year. But I feel I have a good opportunity with the things that I’m competing in.”
During the trials, Campos will compete in powerlifting, archery, air rifle, shotput and discus.
For Campos, a lieutenant at a Texas State penitentiary, recovering at the WTB provides him an opportunity to grow as a Soldier and as an athlete.
“I’m going to push myself, I’m going to get to a point where I want to be,” said Campos. “I’ve learned patience, technique, and to appreciate the smaller things in life. Some athletes are missing limbs and have severe conditions. Seeing them compete gives me motivation, if they can do anything then I can do it too. I won’t be done until the job is done.”
Campos is not only inspired by other athletes, he’s also inspiring fellow Soldiers at 2nd Battalion, 142nd Infantry Regiment, his home unit at Amarillo.
“I have soldiers in my home unit asking if I’m going to go back home, and I tell them yeah, I’m going to go back, I’m doing everything possible to make sure I come back to you guys,” said Campos. “If you’re a Soldier coming back from deployment and you were injured, push yourself. Just because you’re hurt doesn’t mean it’s the end. Just keep going, learn, make friends, network, don’t ever stop, don’t ever throw in the towel and call it quits because you never know when it’s actually going to be the end.”