U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Samantha Goldenstein, assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, smiles during cycling training for the 2015 Department Of Defense Warrior Games at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (U.S. Army Photo by PFC Anh Siev)
By: John M. Rosenberg, Warrior Transition Command
In order for Sgt. 1st Class Samantha Goldenstein to successfully recondition from a major hip injury she first had to rediscover her drive and initiative. After two tours in Iraq, Goldenstein was assigned to a Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri where, as the cornerstone of her reconditioning effort, Goldenstein discovered that pursuits such as cycling and running were both physically and mentally therapeutic.
They’re also activities at which she has turned into a fierce competitor, having won gold medals in cycling and track at the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games.
“My dad always taught me to adapt and to overcome,” said Goldenstein. “Get over things and move on.”
Upon being injured, Goldstein admits to having been slow to follow her father’s advice. Despite possessing an undergraduate degree in exercise physiology and nutrition, she found herself being good at telling others what to do in terms of physical fitness, but not so good when it came to taking care her own advice.
However, from the moment she took up cycling and running at the Fort Leonard Wood WTU it was clear she had found the keys to her reconditioning. She regained her get-up-and-go and used her knowledge of muscle function to become ever-stronger, thus improving her recovery.
“My doctors couldn’t believe how well I was doing,” said Goldenstein. “Their initial prognosis was that I would need hip replacement surgery within three years.” Today, Goldenstein says that she’s “nowhere near” being in need of such a procedure.
A track athlete in high school, Goldenstein says that she has always been a runner, and finds long distance running especially rewarding, participating in half-marathons as well as the Army Ten-Miler.
The Kansas City, Missouri native’s love of cycling came later, participating in WTU cycling trips as well as the Ride 2 Recovery program. Initially she was unsure about the sport, but now, says Goldenstein, “I am definitely hooked.”