Posted: Feb 1, 2013 7:01 AM by Maddie Garrett
Updated: Feb 1, 2013 8:23 AM
For the fourth year in a row, athletes from all of the military branches train and compete in Olympic style games. But these are no ordinary competitors. Injured veterans are currently in training for the 4th annual Wounded Warrior Games in Colorado Springs.
Scott Palomino joined the US Air Force in 2002, right out of high school. By 2003 he was deployed to Iraq, it was a year later when he was hit by a mortar.
"There were four of us in the tent and three of us got hit," said Palomino.
He said he and another Airman were injured, but his friend was killed in the blast.
"I mean he just screamed once and so I tried to get up to go help him but I couldn't feel my whole left side," recalled Palomino. "And checking my right leg nothing was wrong and I looked at my left foot and it was just completely gone."
Within 24 hours, doctors had amputated his leg below the knee.
"I was just, you know, really glad to be alive and I didn't really want to be in the hospital, I wanted to be back out in the world. I wanted to get better," said Palomino.
And that he did. In less than a month, Palomino said was walking again, with the help of a prosthetic.
"I really worked hard, I worked hard to get back to where I am now," he explained.
But despite his positive attitude, Palomino said he didn't always have such a bright outlook. He said it was especially tough the first month after losing his left foot.
"You know I was afraid I would never be able to play basketball again, I'd never be able to walk again," he admitted. "I even thought what girl's going to like me, what girl is going to like a man with one leg?"
But he found hope from other wounded veterans like himself; from people like those in the Wounded Warrior Games.
"We don't focus on the 2% of things they cannot do, we focus on the 98% of things they can do," said AF Wounded Warrior team head coach James Bales.
Palomino is not only walking, he's running, playing basketball and everything else he loves. He's currently training to run track in this year's Wounded Warrior Games. And as for the girl? He's getting married the week before the games in May.
The Wounded Warrior Games are here in Colorado Springs, May 10 -17. Athletes come from all over the country and the United Kingdom to compete.