By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va., June 26, 2015 – For British army Gunner Declan O’Halloran, firing an air rifle today in the 2015 DoD Warrior Games here was the first time he’s shot one in 10 years.
“I was in cadets when I was 12, so the last time I shot one was when I was 15, so it’s been nearly 10 years since I last shot an air rifle,” he said.
O’Halloran said it was great shooting one again, as well as learning how to shoot the recurve bow in archery.
“I love it. Archery is my favorite sport,” he said. “I hope to go further with it. Air rifle, I haven’t touched in years, so it’s like I have to rediscover my bearings again.”
O’Halloran earned a bronze medal here June 22 in the recurve archery team event with the British Forces team and a bronze in recurve archery at the Invictus Games last year.
O’Halloran was injured during a training exercise in the United Kingdom in 2010 that left him with nerve damage and chronic pain. He was put into a personal rehabilitation unit, similar to the Defense Department’s warrior transition units.
“You get sent to a PRU if you’re going to be on sick [leave] for longer than a year,” he said. “You get an officer who helps you cope with your injury. You’re still on active duty, and they monitor you back at home to make sure everything is OK, that your financials and health are OK, that you’re getting the right medication and that you’re getting the right treatments.”
O’Halloran said finding out about adaptive sports helped him become more active.
“I was really down and depressed and that sort of thing. I would stay in bed all day. And then I met other people with injuries and saw how they were coping and how sports helped them, and I got into sports,” he said. “I’m a lot more active now. I’m a lot more outgoing. I don’t stay in my house all the time. I actually go out and do stuff now. It inspired me.”
He said he now looks forward to events such as the Invictus Games and the Warrior Games.
“These events are critical. I can’t stress the importance of them,” he said. “They give you something to strive toward. They give you something to look forward to and to train for. There are no words I can quite use to say how important these events are to me.”