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 | 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...

U.S. Space Force Family Attends First Warrior Games

Article
10/19/2022
Space Force captain with raised archery bow and arrow  shown in profile competing in her first Warrior Games.

U.S. Space Force Capt. Nichole "Nikki" Evenson competes in her first Warrior Games with the support of her family and the U.S. Air Force Wounded Warrior community.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Warrior Care

Army tanker self-amputates leg to save lives of battle buddies, self

Video
10/19/2022
Army tanker self-amputates leg to save lives of battle buddies, self

A year after his tank accident and the loss of his leg, Spc. Ezra Maes is still amazed at the circumstances that led to his survival. If you ask, he’ll credit his survival to a uniform belt, smart phone, and “shockingly good” cell service. What the 21-year-old Soldier fails to mention is the sheer force of will it took for him to stay alive.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Warrior Care Month 5

Infographic
10/13/2022
Warrior Care Month 5

“Military Adaptive Sports Programs provide reconditioning activities and competitive athletic opportunities for wounded, ill, and injured service members to improve their physical and mental quality of life throughout the continuum of recovery and transition. https://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/carecoordination/masp/ Warrior Care webpage #WarriorCareMonth #MilitaryAdaptiveSports #MASP #ShowofStrength”

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Warrior Care Month 3

Infographic
10/13/2022
Warrior Care Month 3

“The National Resource Directory provides access to services and resources at the national, state, and local levels to support recovery, rehabilitation, and community reintegration, including adaptive sports, education, and employment opportunities. https://nrd.gov/The National Resource Directory webpage #WarriorCareMonth #ShowofStrength”

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Warrior Care Month 2

Infographic
10/13/2022
Warrior Care Month 2

“Building connections, sharing resources, and finding strength together helps #WoundedWarriors fight isolation and know they aren’t alone. #WarriorCareMonth is a time for everyone to familiarize themselves with the programs and resources available to wounded, ill, and injured service members and their caregivers. https://www.health.mil/warriorcare”

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Warrior Care Month 4

Infographic
10/13/2022
Warrior Care Month 4

“Adaptive Sports can inspire recovery and physical fitness and encourage new opportunities for growth and achievement. The NRD provides access to over 1,800 resources for adaptive sports. https://nrd.gov/The National Directory webpage #WarriorCareMonth #ShowofStrength”

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Warrior Care Month 6

Infographic
10/13/2022
Warrior Care Month 6

“Shout out to the Wounded Warriors taking charge of their recovery and pushing their limits by participating in adaptive sports. https://www.militaryonesource.mil/health-wellness/wounded-warriors/the-road-ahead/the-power-of-adaptive-sports/Military OneSource webpage #WarriorCareMonth #MilitaryAdaptiveSports #MASP #ShowofStrength”

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Warrior Care Month 1

Infographic
10/13/2022
Warrior Care Month 1

“The #DOD has no higher priority than caring for the wounded, ill, and injured service members who show unmatched and inspiring courage, strength, resilience, and commitment. This November’s #WarriorCareMonth theme is a #ShowofStrength, recognizing how #WoundedWarriors are building connections even during the COVID pandemic. https://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/Warrior Care webpage”

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Caregiver Resource Directory

Infographic
10/12/2022
Caregiver Resource Directory

Check out the new electronic Caregiver Resource Directory! Available to view on any device. This all-inclusive directory is designed to easily connect military caregivers with support groups, resources, and tools they need! Explore the new e-CRD at https://nrd.gov/misc/crdDownload

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Caregiver Resource Directory 4

Infographic
10/12/2022
Caregiver Resource Directory 4

The NEW 2022 electronic Caregiver Resource Directory is now available! Warrior Care’s Military Caregiver Support PEER Support Coordinators are available to guide caregivers through the e-CRD to help find resources, relief, and more for a caregiver’s specific needs. Connect with a PSC today https://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/Caregiver-Resources/Military-Caregiver-Support/-PEER-Support-Coordinators/

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Caregiver Resource Directory 2

Infographic
10/12/2022
Caregiver Resource Directory 2

The new electronic Caregiver Resource Directory has popular and unique topics military caregivers are searching for! Find resources and programs that cater to you and your service member’s and family’s needs! Explore more of the e-CRD now at https://nrd.gov/misc/crdDownload

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Caregiver Resource Directory 3

Infographic
10/12/2022
Caregiver Resource Directory 3

NRD and Warrior Care introduce the new electronic Caregiver Resource Directory, a military caregiver’s portable reference guide for all stages of the caregiver journey. Highlights of the new e-CRD include weekly updates, fully vetted resources and accessibility across all devices! Explore the new e-CRD at https://nrd.gov/misc/crdDownload

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Warrior Care Family Caregivers Month

Infographic
10/11/2022
Warrior Care Family Caregivers Month

“Warrior Care's Military Caregiver Support provides resources and information exclusively for military caregivers who assist wounded, ill, and/or injured Service members with activities of daily living. https://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/caregiver-resources #MilitaryCaregiver #ShowofStrength”

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Warrior Care Family Caregivers Month 2

Infographic
10/11/2022
Warrior Care Family Caregivers Month 2

“During National Family Caregivers Month, we honor and thank military and veteran #caregivers for the work they do behind the scenes, like providing service members and their families with emotional support or managing their medical care. Check out the #MilitaryOneSource Caregiver Resource Guide: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/health-wellness/caregivers/caregivers-resources/ #MilitaryCaregiver #ShowofStrength

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Horse Therapy Helps Wounded Service Members Find "New Normal"

Article
9/13/2022
Horse on left with ARNG Spc. Yesenia Flores, at an equine therapy program used by Fort Campbell's Soldier Recovery Unit.

Horse therapy is one way Fort Campbell wounded soldiers move toward recovery.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 7
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