2016 W100K Rider
2011 W100K Rider
Colonel Patty Collins served in the U.S. Army as a Communications Officer from 1991-2015. In 2006, after returning from Iraq, she was struck by a car while bicycling to work. Her injury left her as a below knee amputee, but did not affect her military service. Upon rehabilitation, she continued to serve including a deployment to Afghanistan and commanding a Signal Battalion. She concluded her military service in Washington, DC.
Adjusting to life as an amputee was initially a challenge, but sports absolutely helped her regain her confidence. She still participates in activities she did previously, but has found finding new ways to tackle wearing a prosthetic to be a relatively small price to pay to continue to be active.
A former triathlete, it was important for Patty to continue finding ways to challenge herself physically, post amputation. While she returned to full military fitness, including free fall status, bicycling initially became her preferred sport over running. Specifically, mountain biking gave her the same adventurous joy as trail running previously had.
She began cycling with Ride2Recovery and then had the opportunity to participate in the Bush Center's inaugural W100K bike ride. After negotiating the challenges of Big Bend National Park and meeting fellow warriors, Patty continued mountain biking, but also returned to the triathlon racing scene. Working with other physically challenged athletes through organizations like the Challenged Athletes Foundation or Dare 2 Tri or even a grass roots neighborhood effort is a great way to help others.
Team 43 is very much like many of her former military units. It’s a family going through some similar stuff. When they are together it’s lots of fun and sometimes a competition of sorts, but always good fun. When they are apart, they are only a phone call or email away from one another and that’s a reassuring place to be.
She is the 2012 World Champion ParaTriathlete in the below-the-knee amputee, Tri 5 category, and World record holder in the 70.3 distance for below knee amputees. She is in the beginning of a one year hiatus from working post Army and will compete as part of the 2016 US Paralympic Team as a Triathlete in Rio De Janeiro.
She has a son, Gabriel, adopted from Guatemala.