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Major Heather Sealover selected to represent Air Force at Invictus Games 2023

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shelby Thurman
  • Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

Maj. Heather Sealover, branch chief of the Sentinel Weapon Systems Team at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, is one of 12 Warrior Games team members chosen to represent the Air Force at the 2023 Invictus Games in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Sealover was first introduced to adaptive sports through the Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program in 2021 following unanticipated surgical injuries and other associated medical issues that were exacerbated by pandemic-driven isolation.

“Having been an avid athlete and distance runner, I was devastated by all the things I could no longer do,” said Sealover. “I kept sinking into a perpetual circle of problems both physically and mentally until my AFW2 mentor, Dr. Lee Kuxhaus, Maj (ret), USAF, took me to an injured military camp in June of 2021 with Dare2Tri. There I was introduced to paratriathlon, which completely changed my life and gave me a new purpose.”

The AFW2 Program works in tandem with the Air Force Survivor Assistance Program, Military Family Readiness Centers, and the Air Force Medical Service to provide concentrated non-medical care and support for seriously or very seriously wounded, ill and injured Airmen, Guardians, caregivers and their families as they recover and transition back to duty or into civilian life. This recovery includes an introduction to adaptive sports.

“These sports create opportunities to enhance recovery and overall quality of life, regardless of visible or invisible wounds,” said Sealover.

After attending an adaptive sport training event, the AFW2 offers service members a developmental track to focus on their newfound skills and prepare to apply to the Department of Defense Warrior Games. This path can also lead towards the Invictus Games, and potentially even further beyond to the U.S. Paralympics.

Founded by John Wordin and U.S. Army Gen. Gary Cheek, the DoD Warrior Games allow approximately 300 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans to participate in Paralympic-style competition, and include athletes from international partner nations.

The Warrior Games feature 13 sports: Archery, cycling, track, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, rowing, powerlifting, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby and archery.

Sealover was selected for the Air Force Warrior Games Team in August 2022, where she participated in swimming, cycling, rowing, and wheelchair track and field. Of the 15 different events she competed in, she secured eight personal bests, set new game records, was coined by the U.S. Army Training Doctrine and Command commander, and brought home 16 gold medals.

After her outstanding performance at the Warrior Games, it was announced on Dec. 14, 2022, that Sealover had been chosen to represent the U.S. Air Force on the international stage at the 2023 Invictus Games. The Invictus Games were founded by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, after visiting the 2013 Warrior Games in the U.S.

The word ‘invictus,’ meaning ‘unconquered,’ embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded, injured and sick service members and “personifies what these tenacious men and women can achieve post injury.”

The paralympic-style competitive event showcases the unconquerable spirit of wounded, ill and injured service men and women. The team for the United States is comprised of service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

In addition to being chosen for the Invictus Games, Sealover was recently selected to compete as part of the Dare2Tri’s Developmental Team for 2022, where almost all U.S. Paralympic triathletes get their start. She is also a newly certified U.S. Triathlon Paratriathlon coach.

“I am looking forward to representing the United States on the international stage in September of 2023 in Dusseldorf, Germany,” said Sealover. “I hope to help others discover what is possible!”