Veterans attend Sports Camp at Lakeshore Foundation
BIRMINGHAM - AL —
Zuleika Cruz Bereira is a woman among men. And she's OK with that.
"I'm pretty much used to it," she said.
In fact, it's what she's used to being in the military for four years with the Army and Air Force. But, in 2008, that all came to an end.
"I wanted to continue to serve my country, but I couldn't because of my injuries," she said.
A box fell on top of her, crushing her so badly it left her with a traumatic brain injury. She also has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She thought life as she knew it was over.
"I can honestly say that adaptive sports saved my life," she said.
She's one of 24 veterans (the only woman), from 16 states taking part in this year's Paralympic Sports Camp at Lakeshore Foundation. It's an introduction to basketball, volleyball, shooting, swimming and much, much more.
"It helps them realize that they can enjoy those things again in life," Lakeshore Foundation Communications Associate Director, Damian Veazey, said.
"I've done more with one leg than most people have done with two legs," Cory See said.
And See, who is a Navy veteran that lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, isn't lying.
"I've been snow boarding, surfing, rock climbing, hand cycling and playing wheelchair basketball," he said.
He knows there's no such thing as "dis," but only ability.
"With disabilities, life is not over," he said. "Goals can still be achieved and you can still overcome things that you think you wouldn't be able to."
Something Cruz Bereira is still figuring out. That life after the military is still a life worth living.
"It showed me that there's a second chance for us," she said. "There's people out there that actually care."
The camp runs through Saturday. Veazey says it is paid for with a federal grant.