Military Amputee Softball team is inspiring others

By: Mark Vaughn Email
By: Mark Vaughn Email

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla- An 80 team military softball tournament features an exhibition team made up completely of wounded warriors.

The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball team also known as "Body Parts" is made up of a special group of guys.

The players on this team are from all over the country. They served in different branches of the military, and they all have something in common, they're amputees.

Retired Army Coporal Nicholas Clark explains his leg injury, "I was injured in 2007 in Afghanistan. I was in a patrol in a hum-vee. I was a 50-cal gunner and we were ambushed with shoulder fire rockets and small arms. We got hit pretty good."

"We were struck by a rocket propelled grenade. The rocket went through the fire wall of my vehicle and went through my arm and went through my Lieutenants arm who was directly behind me. Went through by seat and lacerated my liver and I inhaled so it did severe lung damage," explains Retired Army Sergeant First Class Noberto Lara.

When they were first injured, it was hard to see how they would do what they could before.

"I wasn't even looking at my injury as an injury," Clark said. "I was looking at it as a means to keep me from doing what I wanted to do."

Months of rehabilitation led to a renewed determination to be active, and enjoy life. And now these veterans have found their way back on to this field for a new mission

Lara said, "Your part of something that is bigger than yourself again. Your a teammate, and your working toward a goal, you're trying to win. That's the same thing in combat, your off to win. And when we're on the ball field we're off to win."

This team is their unit now, and they take pride in that. "It's like being back in the Army again. I mean these guys are motivating. So, I feel just like one of the guys," Clark added.

"I really wanted to be a lifer in the Marine Corps so just not being able to do that and put on a different uniform and represent my brothers and serve my country in a different way it makes me really really happy," said Retired Marine Corp Sergeant Lee Randles.

The "Body parts" as they're affectionately known are pretty good at what they do. The team does not play against other amputee teams, and their record so far in 2011 is 6 and 3.

The team is played it's first exhibition game against the 325th Tyndall Security Squadron. The Warriors will face a team of local firefighters Friday at 6 at Frank Brown Park.


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