Sports always have been an important aspect of Derbak’s life; in high school, he competed in both baseball and soccer. After two difficult combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan – where he was exposed to several blasts – Derbak was diagnosed with a TBI, PTSD, and injuries to his back and legs, which resulted in surgery. Though he now uses a wheelchair, he is determined to stay active and participate in adaptive athletics. He also is enrolled in an internship program to study medical coding and billing, and he is building a home in Wilmington, N.C. “I’ve got to keep moving forward, and if that doesn’t work, then it is time to tighten your boots and go right through it,” Derbak says.

Photo of Joseph Derbak

Joseph Derbak

Retired Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class

Age: 33

Current Command/Position: Retired

Current Hometown: Wilmington, N.C.

Disability: TBI, PTSD and lower mobility issues, sustained in combat operations in 2006-2007 and 2009