By Cpl. William Smith
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Just over two years ago, Staff Sgt. Krisell Creager-Lumpkins lost her footing on a mountainside in Camp Williams, Utah, while conducting tactical land navigation.
“I don’t recall details of it, but I do remember getting knocked out,” Creager-Lumpkins said. “I remember waking up to a medic shining a light in my eyes and saying ‘her pupils are not responsive.’ Then I don’t remember anything else until I woke up in the hospital.
“My unit medically evacuated me out first by Humvee, then by ambulance,” said Creager-Lumpkins. “I remember waking up in the hospital and being (angry), and I had to read the report to know what had happened.”
For Creager-Lumpkins, falling off the side of a mountain opened a new door, and an opportunity to show her fellow Soldiers what it means to never quit.
“In the 2011 Warrior Games I watched one of my battle buddies compete in the games after an injury,” said Creager-Lumpkins, Company A, Warrior Transition Battalion. “I had always been an athlete and it was very early on in my recovery. I just made a statement that: ‘I will be here next year’ and, from that moment, I worked my tail off with all sorts of therapies to make it to the 2012 Warrior Games.”
The Warrior Games are designed to introduce injured servicemembers and veterans to Paralympic sports competition, and encourage them to stay physically active when they return to their local communities following the event.
The games are comprised of five U.S. teams, representing the Army, Marine Corps, Navy/Coast Guard, Air Force and Special Operations, as well as one international team from the United Kingdom. Teams compete in seven sports including archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball.
Creager-Lumpkins’ positive, “don’t stop until I am where I want (to) be attitude” has brought inspiration to others.
“She never lets her injuries beat her,” said 1st Sgt. Barry White, Company A, Warrior Transition Battalion. “I have known her for about two years now and she has always been a positive force; she has never been negative. You will have Soldiers that will get injuries that are endless and they will let it beat them. She has never done that; she has been the one to always try and conquer (her injuries).”
Creager-Lumpkins’ nonstop attitude represents her passion for her country, and her indomitable spirit enabled her to overcome her injuries to compete in the Warrior Games.
“She gets scuffed up, bruised, stitches, breaks a finger … but she is there at the very next camp,” said Master Sgt. Jarrett Jongema, noncommissioned officer in charge, Warrior Games.
“She takes (the injuries), turns around and comes right back. That told me that when I selected her for the team that she wouldn’t quit and truly wants to be on this team; truly wants to represent not only her team but her country.”
Creager-Lumpkins said this year she wants to be better, faster and stronger than last year. She wants to have more fun, enjoy being in the games and celebrate the little victories of overcoming her injuries in ways that she hadn’t before, she said.
She is set to compete in the Ultimate Champion event, a pentathlon-style event that pits men and women against each other. The events include cycling, shot put,
10-meter prone air-rifle, 50-meter freestyle swim and 100-meter sprint.