Athlete Spotlight – Josh Laban: Calm Under Pressure
August 29, 2021 | Story by Megan Trexler | Commander, Navy Installations Command
WASHINGTON – UT2 (Ret.) Joshua “Josh” Laban made his debut with Team Navy during the 2018 Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games. Laban went into his first “Road to the DoD Warrior Games” journey with a can-do attitude. Rather than letting his obstacles deter him, he saw them as hurdles to overcome and opportunities to make him stronger.
During his first year, Laban was chosen to compete on the sitting volleyball team. Laban recalled, “I was excited when I found out I would be on the team; I love the team sports. I knew that last year Team Navy won gold (in sitting volleyball.) I wanted to help do it again.”
Laban and team arrive in Colorado Springs, Colorado for the 2018 DoD Warrior Games and the stakes couldn’t be higher. But Laban didn’t fold under pressure. His calm deminer and ability to breakdown the opponent’s strategy allowed Laban to be a key component of the team as they successfully defended their title.
A year later, Laban was selected to represent Team Navy during the 2019 Warrior Games. Again, he earned a spot of the sitting volleyball team. The mission was the same; defend the title. After three nail-biting matches, Laban and team earned their spot in history - the first team to win back-to-back-to-back championships.
Over the years, his fellow Team Navy athletes have described Laban as a “team motivator.” They have also expressed that his energy and can-do attitude are contagious.
“I am really grateful, not just for the ability to play, but for the people I’ve been through the adaptive sports program,” shared Laban.
This year’s DoD Warrior Games would have been Laban’s third time representing Team Navy. He was slated to compete in four sports during the Department of Defense Warrior Games. His sports would have included field, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair rugby.” Laban expressed, “Probably no surprise, but out of all the sports, I was looking forward to sitting volleyball the most.”
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.