Wounded warriors battle back through adaptive sports

Local programs give disabled veterans the chance to be active again

SAN ANTONIO – Call it softball, but with a twist. 

For Jesus Hernandez and veterans injured during service to their country, it's a way to be active again. 

"There are many veterans like me that are always in their bedroooms and can't get out or don't get out," said Hernandez, an Air Force veteran and San Antonio resident. "This helps us get out and feel the air and the wind in our face. It just makes us feel human again."

Hernandez is in a wheel chair and once thought his days of playing sports were over. But thanks to an adaptive sports clinic hosted by the Wounded Warrior Project and South Texas Regional Adaptive & Para Sports, Hernandez and veterans like him are getting an opportunity to play again. 

Wounded Warrior Jesus Hernandez bats in an adaptive softball game

"The physical part, sitting on the chair for long periods of time, moving your body, it's been awesome, yet painful," joked Hernandez. 

The clinic, held at Morgan's Wonderland last April, gave disabled veterans the chance to particiapate in several adaptive sports, like softball, football and basketball. 

The results, both physically and mentally, were overwhelmingly positive. 

"Its a holistic approach, so even though this is adaptive sports focusing on the physical injuries, the changes that you see in posture and the smiles, it's priceless," said Corey Wright, an adaptive sports specialist with the Wounded Warrior Project. 

The clinic was not a one-time thing. The goal is to put each wounded warrior in touch with local groups so that they can continue to play, and most importantly, heal. 

"It helps us find something that we think is good for us," said Hernandez. "It helps us get out not just one day, but multiple and just feel like a normal person again."

For more on the Wounded Warrior Project and STRAPS, select the highlighted words.