Wounded Warriors Softball

Monday, May 9, 2011 - 2:17pm

Team of amputee veterans take on the FBI All-Stars.

Many men and women have sacrificed life and limb to ensure that our freedoms are upheld.

This sacrifice and the patriotism felt in this country have been even more evident in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death.

But now some of those wounded in the fight are going even one step further, by spreading hope and encouragement through a spring pastime, softball.

The Veteran’s Administration and Louisville Slugger have come together to create the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team.

Its intention was to help with rehabilitation of soldiers who had been hit with IEDs, but it’s become more than that for many of the players, and they are crushing teams with more arms and legs than they have.

“We’re the first amputee softball team in the world,” Coach David Van Sleet says. “Their military bond made it real easy for me. If I tell them to be somewhere, they’re there. That military background and history really comes into play here.”

On Friday night, on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, the Wounded Warriors team demolished the F.B.I. All-Stars 35-10.

But it’s not just about winning; it’s about a unifying around what many consider to be debilitating disabilities.

“Some of the guys were shot as early as ’01, ’02, ’03; I was shot in ’06. That’s when I lost my leg,” Team member Spanky Gibson said. “But once we get together, it’s all just one big family.”

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