Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team to Play at Mason

Posted: May 4, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: May 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Courtesy of George Mason University Athletics

The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST), whose members are veterans and active duty soldiers who have lost limbs during post-9/11 military service, will play a three-game series in the Washington, D.C., area, beginning with a game at Mason on May 6.

The first game, sponsored by Mason Athletics and the Diamond Dream Foundation, will be held at the Mason Softball Stadium on Friday, May 6, at 7 p.m. The team will play against FBI agents.

The second game against Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) clinical personnel will be held Saturday, May 7, at 1 p.m. at WRAMC Forest Glen Annex in Silver Spring, Md.

The third game will be against the U.S. Naval Academy Varsity Sailing Team and will take place on Sunday, May 8, at noon at the Naval Support Activity Annapolis Softball Field in Annapolis, Md.

WWAST was established to raise awareness of the sacrifices and resilience of U.S. soldiers and highlight their ability to rise above any challenge. The team is the brainchild of Fairfax High School graduate David Van Sleet, who is currently the Department of Veterans Affairs southwest prosthetics manager. Van Sleet combined his lifelong love of softball with his expertise in prosthetics to establish this unique way to honor the commitment of our military.

With the help of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Wounded Warrior Project Alumni Database, 13 of the most active, athletic and competitive amputee soldiers and veterans with baseball or softball experience were selected for the team. The players range in age from 20 to 39.

Three of the players are still in the service, waiting for their medical discharge, and the rest have been discharged from the service and are now veterans. Two are arm amputees, three above-knee amputees, six below-knee amputees, one bilateral below-knee amputee, and one symes (foot) amputee. The team’s spring training camp and debut game was held in March at the University of Arizona, which obtained a congressional grant to cover the players’ airfares, hotel and meals.  Louisville Slugger is the official equipment sponsor, providing all of the composite softball bats, softball gloves, batting gloves and player bat and travel bags. Under Armour, through the Wounded Warrior Project, is the apparel sponsor.

Local veterans and local and national service organizations will provide housing for the team members and escort them through the Washington area during their stay.

While the team continues to look for sponsors, future plans include exhibition games throughout the country to increase awareness of the recovery of service-disabled amputee veterans.

The team has been contacted by several groups and has committed to play against the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the New York City Police and Fire Departments in September as the nation recognizes the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

For more information on the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, see its Facebook page.

 

 

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu