Life beyond limbs: Wounded veterans use recreational therapy to continue their service
Close to a decade ago, many young military members with hopes of someday playing competitive softball or baseball were injured and wounded in their hospital beds at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Because of injuries they sustained during their service, the option of playing ball someday seemed to vanish.
It’s what inspired the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball team, now called the USA Patriots.
"Our organization was founded in 2011 as a way to highlight our wounded veterans, take them and prove to them that they still have life beyond their limbs," Executive Director Desiree Ellison said.
For the first time, the team is coming to Alaska to compete in the Anchorage Pot of Gold Tournament in June.
"Our guys play against able-bodied teams which is really unique and really special," Ellison said. "I'll tell you, they know if you are trying to take it easy on them, and they don't like it."
The team is made up of about 35 players.
"Our guys go out there missing limbs, missing arms, missing legs and they are playing with people just like you,” Ellison said. “It's a pretty amazing brand, it’s a pretty amazing message that we give to communities and that's why we travel the country and do what we do."
After back-to-back years of finishing third in a tournament in North Dakota, the USA Patriots finally brought home a championship this year.
The USA Patriots also host one-of-a-kind camps for amputee children.
The USA Patriots are in need of sponsors, volunteers and ask any softball C team in the state of Alaska who would like to play with them or against them this summer to go online to register for the Pot of Gold Tournament.
People can also contact a USA Softball of Alaska official.
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