WASHINGTON, D.C. – A day after beating a team of D.C. celebrities several members of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) stopped by Gallaudet University to speak to the baseball team prior to practice.
WWAST general manager and head coach David Van Sleet along with two players in Matt Kinsey from Rockville, Ind., and Josh Wege from Fond du Lac, Wis., spoke for a nearly a hour on Wednesday to the Bison. The WWAST was in town for a softball game on Tuesday evening against a team of D.C. celebrities that included Gallaudet baseball head coach Curtis Pride. The WWAST won 17-4 in five innings in a charity game held at Nationals Park after Washington played the Boston Red Sox.
WWAST is a team full of our nation's bravest and most determined heroes, soldiers and veterans who sustained severe injuries, resulting in amputation of a limb, while serving in the military.
Kinsey, 27, and Wege, 22, both served in Operation Enduring Freedom for the United States of America. Kinsey has an amputation at his right symes while Wege is a double amputee below his knees. Van Sleet, Kinsey and Wege shared their stories about being in the military, their injuries, life and being a member of the WWAST.
"We don't think we have disabilities," said Van Sleet to the team. "Matt and Josh could be wearing pants [instead of the shorts they wore to practice] and you wouldn't know the difference. We don't let our disabilities hold us back."
The WWAST also had the privilege to attend spring training with the Washington Nationals last month. The Nationals are proud sponsors of the WWAST.
Kinsey told the Bison players; "Make the most of your time playing athletics in college. I got lucky. I got a second chance to be an athlete. Play hard out there and don't walk away with any regrets."
Wege's message was powerful as he was 19 when he lost his legs. He demonstrated how he puts his prosthesis legs on and off and mentioned that he has 14 different sets of legs for the various activities he participates in like legs for running, swimming, walking, playing softball, etc.
"I had to get over a fear of failure after my injury. Coming back as an amputee I wasn't sure what I was going to do," said Wege. "You need to remember, what you put into it is what you will get out of it. Be a hard worker and show a good mental attitude and you can succeed."
The WWAST has a full slate of charity games set for this spring and summer throughout the country.
The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) mission is to raise awareness, through exhibition and celebrity softball games, of the sacrifices and resilience of our military, and highlight their ability to rise above any challenge. Our goal is to show other amputees and the general population, that these athletes through extensive rehabilitation and training are able to express their desires and perform the sport they loved. For more information log onto their website www.woundedwarrioramputeesoftballteam.org. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.