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Athlete Spotlight – John McKinney: Still in the Fight 

January 12, 2022 | Story by Megan Trexler | Commander, Navy Installations Command

WASHINGTON – IV John McKinney is a force to be reckoned with. Throughout his recovery journey, McKinney’s tenacity has helped him tackle obstacles head on.

McKinney joined the Navy Wounded Warrior family in 2020 after being diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles. The symptoms typically worsen after periods of activity and improves after periods of rest.

As an athlete growing up, McKinney shared how adaptive sports has helped him stay active. He expressed that he was most looking forward to competing in indoor rowing during the 2021 Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games. When asked about training for the sport, McKinney said, “I am doing a lot of rowing and strength training like powerlifting.”

McKinney’s tenacious mindset was on full display when he said, “I like indoor rowing because it brings me to the bottom and forces me to go beyond what I think I can.” He continued by saying, “It’s something about emerging from that is amazing. Even if you don’t win the heat, you are victorious.”

“The adaptive sports program has been powerful. The interaction with my teammates is huge. I am a part of their recovery journey, just like they are of mine,” said McKinney.

The Michigan native joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 2017 and is currently stationed at the Coast Guard Investigative Service Southeast Region, Resident Agent Office in Florida.

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.


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