Army cancels wounded warrior competition over COVID-19 fears

The Department of Defense canceled its annual Warrior Games competition for the second year in a row because of fears of COVID-19.

The surging and highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus convinced Pentagon officials to scrap the Sept. 12-22 competition at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. 

The games would have brought together hundreds of elite athletes who had been wounded or injured during their military service. They and their counterparts in other countries would have competed in a dozen sporting events ranging from wheelchair rugby and sitting volleyball to cycling and swimming.

Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said she consulted with senior Army leaders, medical professionals and key stakeholders before making the decision to scrap the 2021 games.

“It’s unfortunate we are unable to hold the games, but our first priority must be the health and welfare of everyone involved. The entire DoD understands the importance of the Warrior Games to the athletes and their families, as part of their recovery process, which makes this decision even more difficult,” Ms. Wormuth said. “The Games are an important event for the DoD community. We look forward to resuming them next year if public health conditions permit.”

Last year, the Marine Corps was scheduled to host the 2020 games in San Antonio. The competition is part of the larger Warrior Care Program designed to support wounded and injured military members throughout their recovery.

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