November 17–18, 2012, eight quad rugby teams from Texas to Chicago competed in the 10th annual “Iron Rumble.” Eleven Paralyzed Veterans of America members were sponsored to attend the tournament by the military apparel company Oscar Mike, founded by Paralyzed Veterans’ members.
The tournament was held at Vincent High School in Milwaukee, WI. It provided a great opportunity for quad rugby players and veterans to compete.
Paralyzed Veterans of America members competing in the Iron Rumble included Mason Symons, Jeff Odom and Tim Vixay, all three of whom competed on the Oscar Mike team in addition to this past summer’s National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Oscar Mike founder Noah Currier also competed in the event.
Overall, the Oscar Mike team placed 4th in the tournament behind teams from Milwaukee, Denver and Minneapolis. Amazingly, this was accomplished after losing three players due to health issues before the tournament and then two players before the second game of the tournament.
Although Oscar Mike’s team did not win the tournament, Currier and those involved said they really enjoyed the experience and are already planning more events for next year. He hopes to partner with Paralyzed Veterans to create a large tournament that will help promote the sport and activities for veterans with spinal cord injury and disease as well.
Originally, Noah’s business started with a simple shirt that he designed with a Marine Corps logo and a quote on the back. Eventually, Noah and a few friends decided that they would set up a business and a foundation in order to advance their goal of making veterans mobile, along with providing veterans apparel made in the USA that they would feel proud to wear.
In developing a company name and mission Noah chose something that was both related to the military and stated a distinct mission: “Oscar Mike” is radio jargon for “Stay Mobile.” This established the mission of the company and his foundation to keep veterans active in their daily lives. Learn more about Oscar Mike at this link.
More about the athletes:
Mason Symons was lying in bed depressed when he first heard about wheelchair rugby. During his service in the Army from 2009 to 2012, Symons crashed a motorcycle, which ended his career in the military. Practicing with friends and wheeling around in the mountainous terrain where he lives are his favorite ways to train. He competed in his first National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Richmond, 2012.His goal is to compete in the Paralympics and currently lives in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg.
Jeff Odom was a U.S. Air Force crew chief when he went from active duty to the Arizona National Guard in 2000. In 2001 during an off-duty car accident Jeff suffered a paralyzing injury. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Jeff currently resides in San Diego and is the Sports Director with the Cal-Diego Paralyzed Veterans Chapter. Overall, he said he is very impressed with Oscar Mike and its sponsorship of the tournament. Jeff described rugby as “an informal support system. I can go to practice after a tough day and know that 11 other guys are experiencing the same thing.”
Former Marine Tim Vixay has been in a wheelchair since a 2008 diving accident, and rugby has given him a new lease on life. In addition to helping him live a healthy lifestyle, it has enabled him to travel around the country to events like the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and meet others with the similar injuries. He points out that Oscar Mike has been great in helping out veterans and continues to be a great advocate for Paralyzed Veterans of America sports.
Learn more about Paralyzed Veterans of America’s adaptive sports prgrams
Sean Kumnick is majoring in political science and economics at The George Washington University.