Skip to main content

Military Health System

Wounded Sailor Ready to Lead Navy Wounded Warrior Marksmen to Victory

Image of Roel Espino and Retired AZ3 Elizabeth “Ellie” Smith at Navy Warrior Games Training Camp. Coach Roel Espino assists Retired AZ3 Elizabeth “Ellie” Smith with air rifle during the Navy Warrior Games Training Camp at Port Hueneme - Naval Base Ventura County, California

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care – A Show of Strength | Warrior Care

While the Military Adaptive Sports Program has opened the door for hundreds of recovering service members, their families, and their caregivers – for one athlete this program has led to a special opportunity.

Previous Warrior Games Navy athlete, Roel Espino, recently transitioned from athlete to coach. With his first Warrior Games in 2014 in Norfolk, Virginia, Espino competed in shooting and archery.

But at the Warrior Game Trials on Naval Base Coronado this May, Espino helped coach the Navy's Wounded Warrior Shooting Team. His journey from recovering service member to coach is one to recognize.

Espino's wounded warrior journey began in 2013, when he was involved in a motorcycle accident.

"I had a lot of abrasions, but more cognitive and neurological issues from the crash, such as TBI, PTSD, and short-term memory loss," added Espino.

When getting involved in adaptive sports, Espino added, "I had reservations coming in as an athlete, I was able body, so nobody was able to see the wounds from which I was suffering. After being in it, you receive knowledge that comes with participating, such as networking, benefits, and additional programs that are here to help you."

After participating in the Warrior Games in 2017, Espino retired from the Navy and finished competing as a wounded warrior. However, he continued to shoot on local shooting ranges in southern California.

When an opening became available at Navy Wounded Warrior for a team shooting coach, coaches Bob McMullin and David Kime recommended Espino. Espino shares, "I was hired as a coach, 2 years now, and it has been exciting! It is fun seeing the athletes progress and they are really blowing my mind."

"Coming back as a coach, I could apply military situations to things on the range" explained the Navy veteran. "Comparing military experiences to these competitions translates a lot better for the military athletes. Adaptive sports build your confidence and lets you know that just because you're hurt doesn't mean you're out of the fight."

Espino added, "Adaptive sports changes lives. It teaches you different ways of how to play a sport and life skills. I know a common theme among the athletes is that they are still angry at their situation and getting through and over that anger is a huge hurdle when trying to apply everyday life."

Espino continued, " I tell every athlete, "You could either be the life of your own pity party or you could do something about it. I've had athletes with terminal illnesses come back and bounce back stronger than the last time I saw them. It makes you really appreciate everything around you. If they can do it, then so can I."

Although the past two years the Warrior Games have been cancelled due to the pandemic, Espino shared, "I understand the need to cancel, especially when some of the athletes have immune issues. It was crushing for some of the athletes, but you must look at it into a positive aspect. We couldn't compete this year, but that gives us more time to prepare. And we are prepared!"

"Representing the Navy as a coach is exciting. I thought my last time would be in 2017 when I competed in Hawaii, but they called me back and I'm able to wear the same colors again," continued Espino. "Warrior Games matter because these men and women made a promise to the American people that they would put their lives on the line for our freedoms. Unfortunately, sometimes we get hurt. Warrior Games is only a fraction of what we could do for American soldiers and veterans. You can't put a price on happiness."

This year, the Warrior Games will take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida.

You also may be interested in...

Army Wounded Warrior perseveres despite COVID-19

Article
3/19/2021
Picture of military personnel wearing a face mask and shooting a bow and arrow

Army Wounded Warrior preserves through COVID-19 pandemic through continued physical activities.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Army leader finds rewarding position through Operation Warfighter

Article
2/5/2021
Image of Mr. Ortiz in uniform

Soldier turns Department of Commerce internship into full-time position.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

One Marine’s journey to recovery through adaptive sports

Article
1/15/2021
Woman in wheelchair on podium; holding up prosthetic leg

Marine veteran Annika Hutsler credits Military Adaptive Sports for helping her transition to civilian life.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

OWF and DFAS support injured Soldier on his path to success

Article
1/8/2021
Image of two men holding onto an award. Click to open a larger version of the image.

Soper is now a recruiter for DFAS’ “Hire a Hero Program.”

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

OWF sailor finds a sense of purpose with ICE internship

Article
12/22/2020
Woman holding award plaque, surrounded by colleagues

OWF coordinates non-funded federal internships between qualified wounded, ill and injured service members and a variety of federal agencies..

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Military medicine confronts an invisible enemy

Article
12/4/2020
Medical personnel set up in an outside military tent

The collective response to the pandemic underscored the MHS reputation for innovation, with practical applications beyond military medicine.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Warrior Care | Public Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

MHS Minute: November 2020

Video
11/27/2020
MHS Minute: November 2020

During Warrior Care Month, we reflect on the strength and resilience of our nation's wounded, ill, and injured service members, and recognize the caregivers who support their recovery and rehabilitation.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Warrior Care

Suicide Impacts Us All – But There Is Help!

Article
9/14/2020

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Warrior Care

OWF Program assists Wounded Warrior obtain FBI internship

Article
8/18/2020
Photo of woman wearing glasses in a white blouse

Staff Sgt. Amy Arenas received her dream internship through DoD Warrior Care Program Operation Warfighter.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Getting creative: Reducing opioid use for returning warriors

Article
11/5/2019
Airmen of the 174th Attack Wing participate in a weekly yoga class. Classes are intended to present an alternative way for 174th members to build both mental and physical strength. Yoga is also a way to alleviate chronic pain in the body. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Duane Morgan)

With the rise in opioid-related drug abuse and death, the Military Health System looks to complementary pain management treatments

Recommended Content:

Pain Management Toolkit | Pain Management Toolkit | Warrior Care

Warrior Care Month Recognition

Policy

This memorandum from Mr. Thomas McCaffery, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, officially recognizes November as Warrior Care Month, an important Department of Defense (DOD)-wide effort to increase awareness of programs and resources available to wounded, ill, and injured Service members, as well as their families, caregivers, and others who support them.

  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 10/25/2019
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Warrior Care

Wounded Warrior Policy Review

Congressional Testimony
8/23/2019

H.R. 5515, NDAA Conference Report for FY 2019, 115-874, Sec. 717

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Invisible Wounds, Invisible Care

Infographic
12/8/2017
Invisible Wounds, Invisible Care

This infographic outlines the Air Force Invisible Wounds Initiative and offers a list of resources for wounded warriors and their families.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

U.S. Army Warrior Care and Transition Brand Questionnaire

Form/Template
1/23/2017

This brief questionnaire will help us determine how we brand the Army's Warrior Care Program. All responses are anonymous.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Warrior Care Month Recognition

Policy

In this memorandum, Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter recognizes November as Warrior Care Month, an important DoD-wide effort to increase awareness of programs and resources available to wounded, ill, and injured Service members, as well as their families, caregivers and others to support them.

  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 11/14/2016
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Warrior Care
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 46 - 60 Page 4 of 6
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 08, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery