Know the Warrior: Things Are Different But Possible 

Yeoman First Class Angela Harris of the U.S. Coast Guard

By Army Sgt. Jason Goselin

Many of the competitors at the 2024 Department of Defense Warrior Games come from a sporting background, but for others, adaptive sports were something they discovered during their recovery process. Adaptive sports are brand new to Yeoman First Class Angela Harris of the U.S. Coast Guard, and she takes on the new challenges as they come. 

“I don’t have a sports background,” said Harris. “So, it’s nice that I don’t have a benchmark or comparison to before.” 

Harris is competing for Team Navy, while recovering from a 2022 spinal injury. She has been working with the U.S. Coast Guard Wounded Warrior Program and Challenge Alaska, an adaptive sports program in Anchorage, where she lives. 

“It’s really fascinating watching the way that sports can adapt to wherever we are in our journey,” said Harris.

A summer event with her adaptive sports program, Challenge Alaska is the first time Harris understood what she was capable of and the opportunities still available to her. 

“That was my first real eye opener that things are going to be different, but possible,” said Harris. 

Joining Team Navy and meeting longtime adaptive sports competitors has given Harris a community to learn from and grow with. 

“You meet people who have been doing this for a while and you can practice in a safe space,” said Harris. “You can share your fears and learn new ways to overcome them.” 

Harris is competing in six events and has already claimed two gold medals in the 4-minute and 1-minute rowing events. The mother of four and recent empty nester is already eyeing her next challenge–The 2025 Invictus Games. 

“I was not expecting gold,” said Harris. “I feel confident that with great training I may bring home some gold at Invictus, where I’ll be competing in rowing, downhill skiing, swimming, and curling.” 

Harris isn’t competing in basketball or volleyball at this year’s Warrior Games, so she’s excited to cheer on Team Navy to return the support they’ve shown her. 

“The hearts of Team Navy are uniquely amazing,” said Harris. “Had it not been for our teammates I don’t know if I would be here in front of you.”

Harris is passionate about using adaptive sports for her own recovery and wants others to know that they’re capable of much more than they think.  

“It’s overwhelming to watch how smart, passionate, and caring the people and coaches are,” said Harris. “You can do it, no matter what you’re up against, you can do it.”