Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team Visits Las Vegas
Oct. 10, 2012
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - One year ago the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) introduced itself to the UNLV softball program with a visit to Eller Media Stadium prior to playing three games around the Las Vegas Valley. This Friday, the WWAST makes another stop at UNLV with a practice scheduled from 10:30 am to noon at the stadium.
Friday's visit will be the first of two for the WWAST to UNLV this fall. The group will return on Nov. 11 for a pair of games at the stadium.
Following Friday's practice, the WWAST will square off against the PoliceSoftball.com team, which will take place later that day at 8:00 pm at Big League Dreams (3151 E. Washington, Ave.).
On Saturday, the WWAST will play a pair of games against Sun City Las Vegas (10:00 am) and Las Vegas Fire & Rescue (11:30 am). Both games will take place in Summerlin at Sun City (9107 Del Webb Blvd.).
"We are excited and honored to have this opportunity to be involved with the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team," said UNLV head coach Lisa Dodd. "It's such a great experience for our student-athletes to meet and get to know the service members who put their lives on the line every day. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the team, and it is our goal to involve the entire UNLV softball community as they are the ultimate role models for us. It's not every day that you get to share the field with real-life heroes, and we feel beyond fortunate to be a part of their organization."
The WWAST is the brainchild of David Van Sleet, a Department of Veterans Affairs southwest prosthetics manager, who has worked in prosthetics for over 30 years and played softball for about the same length of time.
"When the war started in 2003, I saw guys coming back that looked pretty fit," said Van Sleet to UNLVRebels.com a year ago. "I started to keep tabs on who played sports, who was athletic, and how they did their workouts. I came up with this crazy idea, `You know, I think we can field a softball team from guys that played baseball before.'"
This team is unlike any softball team that you've ever seen. The team members are all veterans of the United States military that have lost limbs post-9/11, while serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
"We had about 250 apply and we whittled it down through their physical therapists and prosthetists. We trained for a week and we kept about 10 guys. We found about 10 more guys from around the country that were even more into it; a little bit more competitive and with a little bit more ability. We've got about 20 guys to choose from and we travel with 11. We travel about two or three times a month."