Event honors Sen. Jim Inhofe for support of U.S. Paralympic Team
EDMOND — Seven years ago, James Stuck experienced an injury the likes of which most people will never know.
Today, Stuck represents his country on one of the most prominent athletic stages in the world.
In December 2005, while serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division, Stuck's convoy struck a roadside bomb near the city of Kirkuk. The blast destroyed most of his right leg, which eventually had to be amputated below the knee.
Now retired, Stuck, of Edmond, is a resident Paralympic athlete at the University of Central Oklahoma, competing on the U.S. men's sitting volleyball team. Stuck and teammate Dan Regan were on hand Tuesday at a ceremony honoring U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe for his support of the team.
Inhofe serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee. During the ceremony, officials from the university and the U.S. Olympic Committee thanked Inhofe for finding federal funding for military sports programs, including the one at UCO.
UCO serves as an official Olympic and Paralympic training site, meaning the university often hosts training opportunities and events for military and veteran athletes.
While recovering from his injury, Stuck said, he regained his confidence through sports — often something as simple and informal as a pickup basketball game with friends.
It's relatively common for injured veterans like Stuck to find their strength through athletics, said retired Army Col. Roger Neppl, the U.S. Olympic Committee's director of military programs.
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