Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

Unexpected Friendly Rivals

Image of A woman helps a person lifting weights. Lorraine Currow, an adaptive reconditioning program specialist at Brooke Army Medical Center’s Soldier Recovery Unit, assists a soldier in adaptive weight training at Jimmy Brought Gym, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, Aug. 11, 2022. (Photo: Robert Whetstone, Brooke Army Medial Center Public Affairs)

The Brooke Army Medical Center Soldier Recovery Unit is more than where support for wounded, ill, and injured soldiers receiving rehabilitative care takes place. In some rare instances, staff members find themselves in competition with a patient.

On Aug. 11, two members of the organization entered Fort Sam Houston’s Jimmy Brought Fitness Center, in a peculiar trainer-training the competition predicament.

BAMC SRU Adaptive Reconditioning Program specialist and retired U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Lorraine Currow, and retired U.S. Army Capt. Juan Torres Valenzuela reveled in the uniqueness of their situation. Both are members of their respective teams–Currow is on Team Navy, Torres is on Team Army–heading into the 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games, held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, Aug. 19-28.

Currow knows exactly how adaptive reconditioning develops bonds among participants and staff alike. “There is no worse feeling than having your career stop in its tracks before you are ready,” she explained.

Her personal experience in a pain management program at Madigan Army Medical Center and at the Adaptive Reconditioning Program for Joint Base Lewis McChord changed her entire perspective on recovery.

Currow’s career began on active duty in the Navy as an air framer–aviation structural mechanic, then she enlisted in the Coast Guard. In 2013 she suffered a spinal cord injury due to a fall during a drug interdiction exercise, and a second fall in 2017, resulting in more damage, leaving her with several disc-related issues, nerve damage and a torn labrum.

Torres was commissioned through St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, becoming a second lieutenant in the infantry. He moved on to become a platoon leader with 1st Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

A malignant brain tumor is what brought Torres to the BAMC SRU. “I started my cancer treatment receiving 33 rounds of radiation and 12 rounds/months of chemotherapy,” said Torres.

His home of record is San Antonio, and he began the chemotherapy cycles at BAMC. “It’s a way better hospital when it comes to oncology, and I would have my whole family to support me in the case I needed anything.”

The struggles they share give Currow critical insight in personalized training for Torres and other soldiers in the SRU.

“I feel like I can be on a level of communication and understanding with my soldiers who are going through transition because of my gift of injury,” added Currow.

Adaptive reconditioning plays an important role in SRUs. Soldiers recovering in an SRU follow a dynamic plan of action focusing on the soldier’s future. They prepare soldiers to either return to their previous unit, move to their next duty assignment, or transition to civilian life.

Torres is a sterling example of how a well-run organization can make life-changing events a much smoother and accepted evolution.

“The SRU and the adaptive reconditioning program kept my mind and body busy,” he stated.

Torres said this was a huge motivator and helped him enjoy more time with family and not fall in the shadows of how his condition could be seen as depressive.

The Aug. 11 training day began at the Alamo Heights Natatorium. Currow was not only training with Torres, but she assisted other soldiers from the BAMC SRU in attendance with swimming techniques. Splitting duties between training soldiers and getting ready for the Warrior Games competition is a delicate balancing act.

“I have had to really stay committed to my training,” she explained. Some days she couldn’t train until 6 p.m., when she was exhausted, or she would start the day early at 4:30 a.m. She used weekends to incorporate archery training with local coaches.

Families and caregivers are closely involved in all aspects of the soldier’s recovery. Currow’s husband, a strength and conditioning coach who was a personal training and certified corrective exercise specialist is her biggest support.

“He has been with me since my injury and has helped me with every aspect of recovery,” said Currow. “I am thankful to be given a new normal and a way to give back with the Soldier Recovery Unit.”

Both Torres and Currow are vying to be the ‘Ultimate Champion’ of the competition.

The UC is the athlete who has earned the most points (based upon their individual results within their respective sport classification categories) in the following eight individual sport competitions: archery, cycling, field, indoor rowing, powerlifting, shooting, swimming, and track.

Warrior Games showcases the resilience of service members and the importance of adaptive reconditioning activities in their recovery. Being selected to their respective teams was an unexpected surprise. Now they find themselves in a friendly Army-Navy rivalry.

According to Torres, the competition between he and Currow is going to be one filled with them pushing each other and trying to prove their worth.

“She has her strong events and I have mine,” said Torres. “I’ll definitely be more focused in each event knowing that if I get beat by her, I will never hear the end of it!”

To learn more, or follow the results of the competition, visit the Warrior Games site.

You also may be interested in...

Article Around MHS
Jan 11, 2024

How the U.S. Army Outfits Wounded Soldiers for Life After Recovery

Adaptive sports equipment, such as wheelchairs for rugby and basketball, are just a portion of the supply chain that soldiers in recovery use to thrive into their future as they overcome a wound, injury, or illness. (Photo by Mary Therese Griffin/Army Recovery Care Program)

There are many moving parts to the Army Recovery Care Program, not the least of which is adaptive reconditioning. This includes equipment and logistics for soldiers who want to recover and overcome their wounds, injury, or illness. “Part of our job is to help coaches, logistics folks, etc., work together to ensure our units and soldiers have the best ...

Article Around MHS
Dec 8, 2023

Are You Injury Prone?

Injuries are usually preventable in some way – they are rarely completely unavoidable accidents.  (graphic: Defense Public Health)

Do you know how many injuries you have had? Are there actions you can take to reduce your injury risk? Learn how to asses your injury susceptibility and the changes to reduce your injury risk and improve your physical performance.

Article Around MHS
Dec 4, 2023

Fort Campbell Soldiers' Innovation Helps Extremities Rehab for Injured Service Members

Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Readiness Command, East, and Director, Defense Health Network East U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Lance Raney tests a simulated M-4 rifle charging handle that attaches to a strength-training machine to simulate real-life tasks for soldiers recovering from traumatic hand and upper extremity injuries. (Photo by Maria Christina Yager/Blanchfield Army Community Hospital)

A simulated M-4 rifle charging handle fashioned by an occupational therapy team at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital and refined by Fort Campbell’s EagleWerx Applied Tactical Innovation Center may gain broader use in other military hospitals and clinics after a senior Defense Health Agency official saw it demonstrated.

Article Around MHS
Nov 29, 2023

Green Beret Teams Up with the US Southern Command Warrior Care Program Care Coalition Competes in Department of Defenses Warrior Games Challenge and International Invictus Games

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jacob “Jake” Anthony competing in the 2023 Invictus Games held in Dusseldorf, Germany. (Courtesy photo)

Green Beret U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jacob "Jake” Anthony was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005 on a mission to find a target. His team was breaching a door that turned out to be booby-trapped, resulting in an explosion that killed his teammate in front of him. Anthony would take shrapnel to the right frontal lobe to his brain and had to be initially ...

Article Around MHS
Nov 13, 2023

We May be Wounded Warriors, But We Can Still Serve

Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt Michael Johnson reflects on his time at Yale University through the Warrior Scholarship Program in June 2023. (Photo courtesy Michael Johnson)

Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt Michael Johnson reflects on his time at the Fort Belvoir Soldier Recovery Unit. “I was at the Fort Belvoir SRU after hurting my leg on deployment in Poland. I had perpetual headaches while recuperating, which led to imaging that showed I had lesions on my brain and, ultimately, the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.”

Article Around MHS
Aug 23, 2023

Forward Care for the Warfighter: U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command Talks Battlefield Countermeasures at MHSRS

Soldiers with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command perform a battlefield care scenario during the MRDC 2023 Best Squad Competition at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, on April 11, 2023.  (Photo: Danae Johnson)

With time spent on the battlefield being an increasing reality, products to help deliver immediate prolonged care to the Warfighter are now more important than ever. A concept known well by Maj. Zachary Booms, an emergency medicine physician at the Combat Casualty Care Research Team at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command's Institute ...

Article Around MHS
Apr 27, 2023

In the Army Recovery Care Program, You Have One Job

U.S. Army Cpt. Veronica, Jones shoots the ball during the U.S. Army Adaptive Sports Camp at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on April 1. Over 70 wounded, ill and injured soldiers are training in a series of athletic events including archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, powerlifting, track, field, rowing, and wheelchair basketball. This year, the Warrior Games Challenge takes place in June 2023 at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, California. (Photo by U.S. Army Pvt. Theron Smith)

In the Army Recovery Care Program, soldiers have one job…to get better. The adaptive sports camp celebrates wounded, ill, and injured soldiers' ability to recover and overcome. The U.S. Army holds qualifying trials for active duty, wounded, ill, or injured soldiers to assess and select athletes for competition in the Warrior Games Challenge.

Article Around MHS
Feb 21, 2023

How One Officer is Chasing Her Dreams

U.S. Navy Lt. Tia Blythe

Her civilian physical therapy job wasn't enough. That's when Tia Laine Blythe decided to take her specialized skills to the military. Follow along with now U.S. Navy Lt. Tia Laine Blythe's military career path that has led to numerous awards, distinctions, and a whole new level of professional satisfaction.

Article Around MHS
Jan 17, 2023

There's No Excuse to Not Be Living Your Full Potential

Military personnel healing in hospital bed

Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Armando Mejia was severely injured due to an explosion and firefight in Mosul, Iraq, in 2004. Staying in a medical hold while recovering, Mejia was eventually one of the first to experience the Army Recovery Care Program when it was stood up as Warrior Care and Transition.

Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery