UPDATE: Dwayne Scheuneman won all four track events he entered on Monday, July 15. He also won medals in three field events: Gold for discus, silver for javelin and silver for shot put. His rugby team won both games and have another round on Thursday.
Dwayne Scheuneman is always on the move. Whether he’s dancing, racing, or studying, he approaches life with a high level of energy.
That’s why when the Navy veteran injured himself in a swimming pool accident more than 15 years ago, his first words after realizing he was paralyzed were, “Game on.”
It’s with that vigor that Scheuneman approaches all of life’s challenges – from traveling across town in the snow on a bus in Buffalo, N.Y., or teaching a classroom full of children at St. Petersburg’s Great Explorations preschool. He currently is pursuing his Elementary Education degree at USF St. Petersburg.
His decision to move away from the snowy climate in the North led him to the Tampa Bay area, where he has found an incredible support system within the Haley Veterans Hospital as well as the USF community.
“So I raced in Jacksonville for about a year, and that is just where I started figuring out the whole track and field scene, and when I was there I heard that James A. Haley had a whole unit for spinal cord injuries and decided to move to Tampa in 2000,” said Scheuneman.
His racing days were just beginning – his competitive nature kicked in and he was hooked. He raced for several years and participated in the Veterans Wheelchair Games in Los Angeles in 2003. He stresses the importance of having an active lifestyle and what the Veterans Wheelchair Games can provide to vets.
“It’s an opportunity for disabled vets. The importance of the game is it really is an outlet, helping vets dealing with injuries, and as the recreational therapist at VA tells me, you can maximize your potential, find that outlet,” said Scheuneman.
Scheuneman got involved with dance and became so passionate about teaching children and adults with mixed abilities that he started his own dance company, REVolutions, leaving his track days behind.
He performs all over the country and has been collaborating with USF’s Dance department for more than 10 years, including a project called The Rolling Dance Chair.
It was only when he was dealing with a recent shoulder impingement that he started to go back to the VA for occupational therapy. He then learned the 33rd Veterans Wheelchair Games would be held in Tampa, and his competitive spirit kicked in.
“I thought the games are here in Tampa, I want to represent Tampa, and the Tampa VA has always been supportive of me, so I’ll compete in these games. I don’t know if I’ll keep racing after that. Since I’ve been training I’ve started to think maybe I can dance and race, so that’s where I am today,” says Scheuneman.
The events he’ll be participating in are the 100, 200 and 400-meter track events, which will be Monday, July 15, at 8 a.m. at Jefferson High School in Tampa. Also, he’ll swim in the 100 freestyle at the Long Center in Clearwater at 7 p.m. Monday, July 15th, and play in a few rugby matches, which are throughout the week.
Learn more about the 33rd Veterans Wheelchair Games in Tampa and view a schedule of events.