March 18, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama softball team will be welcoming a lot more than just rival Auburn on March 22-24, as the Crimson Tide will host the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team all weekend long. The festivities are centered on a special exhibition game between the WWAST and University of Alabama Alumni All-Stars that will take place after the Saturday, March 23, contest against the Tigers. The weekend also marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.
"It gives the national Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team great pleasure to be invited to play in Rhoads Stadium at the University of Alabama, home of the defending NCAA Division I Softball National Champions, on Saturday March 23, 2013,” David Van Sleet, CEO/General Manager of WWAST said.
The Alabama Alumni All-Stars will feature former Tide greats from the sports of football, basketball and softball. Some of the names making an appearance at Rhoads Stadium are: Tyrone Prothro, Antoine Pettway, Carson Tinker, Cassie Reilly-Boccia and plenty more.
The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team’s (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. Their goal is to show other amputees and the general population, that through extensive rehabilitation and training these athletes are able to express their desires and perform the sport they loved.
“Having the opportunity to be a part of the Wounded Warriors Amputee softball game is extremely exciting,” former Alabama softball great, Cassie Reilly-Boccia said. “It will be an honor to be on the field competing against these soldiers who have sacrificed so much for our country. It's just an added bonus for me to get to play at Rhoads stadium again in front of the best fans in the country.
The WWAST is comprised of young, competitive, athletic veterans and active duty soldiers who have lost limbs post-9/11, while serving their country in the military/war. The team includes individuals with a variety of amputations of the arm, above knee, below knee, bilateral below knee, and foot. Some are still in the service, others are attending college thanks to the Post-9/11 GI Bill while others have moved on to new careers.
“As we approach the 10th Anniversary of the start of the Iraq War and our team having one of the first amputees resulting from Operation Iraqi Freedom, it is a very special occasion for our team to display their talents at this esteemed university who has one of the most decorated college sports program in recent years,” Van Sleet added. “For our team to be matched up against a University of Alabama All-Star Team of former athletes, this will create an event of excitement and sportsmanship that both the Tuscaloosa and Alabama community will thoroughly enjoy.”
WWAST athletes are examples of amputees who continue to push the limits of modern prosthetic technology with more and more applications. Of course, the goal is for our American soldiers to return from harm’s way without the resulting loss of life and limb. Unfortunately this is not always the case, and the WWAST vision is to support and honor our soldiers and veterans sacrifices, as well as show other amputees and everyone who sees or hears about the WWAST that life without a limb is limitless.
The University of Alabama Air Force ROTC cadets will present the colors during the National Anthem. Honorary first pitch will be thrown out by Sergeant Randall Rugg. Rugg is a member of the WWAST and is also one of the first amputees having lost his leg two days after the start of the Iraq War.
Tide For Troops will be providing the shirts for the Bama All-Stars. Tide For Troops, Inc. is a non-profit company who provides unique Bama fan t-shirts to our military serving or retired. The organization provides these shirts at no cost to the military but depends on donations from the community and sponsors to continue sending the shirts to all those who apply.
Saturday will also mark the senior day for Kayla Braud. The first 750 fans will receive a #1 senior card. There also will be a display on the concourse.
Alabama Alumni All-Stars
(Football) Cory Reamer
(Football) Baron Huber
(Football) Carson Tinker
(Football) Wesley Britt
(Football) Prince Wimbley
(Football) Roger Shultz
(Basketball) Antoine Pettway
(Softball) Leah White
(Softball) Emily Currie
(Softball) Alex Blewitt
(Softball) Christi Franklin
(Softball) Lacy Prejean
(Softball) Jaz Lunceford
(Softball) Dom Accetturo
(Softball) Cassie Reilly-Boccia
(Football) Tyrone Prothro