Scoba F. Rhodes Jr. traveled to Pittsburgh this week from Long Beach, Calif. The 45-year-old Navy Veteran says he heard about the Games “from doctors, Paralyzed Veterans members, recreational therapists—basically you have to be living under a rock to not hear about the Games.”
This is the second year of my injury. During my first year, I was not physically strong enough, and I was still very unsure of myself. I was still very emotionally down and had no real desire to go. But my condition improved, both physically and emotionally, which I can attribute to my wife, Sonia; my family; my physical therapists; my counselor; and my primary care doctor.
When I arrived at the VA hospital from the county hospital where the operation [that led to my injury] took place, I was in seriously bad condition. I was dangerously low on blood, covered with bedsores and barely conscious. During my first night, I had to receive eight units of blood…. With the proper medical and surgical care, and advice from the VA nutritionist, my body became stronger, my sores completely healed, and I was eventually able to head out into the public.
However, long trips were a bit too much for me to handle. It took my physical therapists to really start to work with me and get me stronger. Now, I think I am able to make the trip. This is still a test for me, however. I hope I do well.
I am entered in the nine-ball, ping-pong and air gun events. I chose these events because they were something I was pretty good at before my injury. I have been training all year, practicing billiards down the street from my house, and working out two days a week at the VA hospital, and the other days with barbells at home.
What I have gotten out of this experience is something that I want to say to all fellow injured Veterans everywhere: Attempt not, my friends, to weather the storm, but rather, learn to dance in the rain!