Athlete Spotlight – Kenneth Bond: Authentically Himself
September 3, 2021 | Story by Megan Trexler | Commander, Navy Installations Command
WASHINGTON – During former President Theodore Roosevelt’s speech, Citizen in a Republic, he said, “It is not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doers of deeds could have done better.” Roosevelt continued to say that, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face it marred by dust and sweat and blood…”
LCDR (Ret.) Kenneth Bond shared that this quote resonates with him and serves as a reminder that he should remain his authentic self at all times. He shared, “Authenticity is more than just being true to yourself. It’s how you face life – with dignity and courage, no matter the situation.”
The Texas native joined the U.S. Navy in May 2000 and retired in October 2020. In Summer 2020, Bond first heard about the Navy Wounded Warrior program, while receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. “From day one, I was assigned a non-medical Care Manager. They were like a coach for me during that time.”
Growing up as an athlete, Bond shared that it was important to him that he start participating in adaptive sports events early in his recovery journey, as an outlet to meet people who could understand his situation.
“Because of COVID, my first several adaptive sports events were virtual. It was weird at first – I didn’t have that ‘in-person time’ to develop relationships with people. But by the end of the virtual trials those relationships were established,” expressed Bond.
Bond shared that he was looking forward to the team sports the most, “It’s the camaraderie that defines military service. Any team I have been on in the military has had this shared appreciation for one another and a common goal that everyone is after. With those two things in place, the resiliency, team work and everything else just flows” Bond continued, “Those are the things that I have missed since retiring, so this program is bringing it back for me.”
Bond, a freshman Team Navy athlete, was slated to compete in six sports during the 2021 Department of Defense Warrior Games. His sports would have included archery, cycling, swimming, sitting volleyball, track and wheelchair rugby.
Navy Wounded Warrior is the Navy’s sole organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen and providing resources and support to their families.
The Warrior Games are a Paralympic-style competition among more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members from all branches of the U.S. military, as well as from international armed forces. The 2021 Department of Defense Warrior Games would have been hosted at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida from September 12-22, 2021. The invitation-only event was going to feature 12 sports: archery, cycling, field, golf, indoor rowing, powerlifting, shooting (precision air), sitting volleyball, swimming, track, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. The 2021 DoD Warrior Games were canceled due to ensure the safety, health and well-being of our service members and local communities as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to affect the country.