(WSYR-TV) — The United States Armed Forces established something called the Warrior Games where wounded service members and veterans compete in different sports. This year’s games kick off next week in Florida, and there will be at least one local athlete competing.
Tisha Knickerbocker’s favorite sport is basketball. It’s been that way since she was a kid.
“Well, I’m short, and I had a lot to prove because I was short. So, really, I think that’s how it became my favorite sport because I had to be super competitive with it and none of the guys — because I was always playing with guys — thought I could keep up with them and then I would start crushing them,” she said.
Knickerbocker, now 27, still plays a lot of basketball. She just does it from a wheelchair.
“So I have some nerve damage in my legs and some strength problems. I also have PTSD and TBI,” she explained.
Her life changed forever in 2012. While serving in the Marine Corps she was involved in a serious multi-vehicle accident which left her with a broken back, a traumatic brain injury, and lots of questions about her future.
She was introduced to adaptive sports during her recovery and after four years of intense training, she was invited to try out for the Warrior Games — an Olympic-style event for injured service members and veterans. Tisha made the most of the opportunity competing in several events last year and even set a record in the 50-meter breaststroke.
Later this month she’ll get the chance to compete again. Her service dog ‘Cuse has even played a significant role in her recovery.
“‘Cuse can pull my wheelchair, she can pick things up off the ground, turn on light switches, she can wake me up from night terrors, she does some interrupting behaviors that are for the PTSD side of things. Like, this dog is amazing, she’s literally saved my life,” she said.
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