This Memorial Day weekend there was a very special game going on at NYSEG Stadium.
Our Elyse Mickalonis caught up with the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball team, whose players carry a message much deeper than just trying to win.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Matias Ferreira is passionate about sports.
“I always played sports – wrestled, football, baseball, softball. I just figured I would never be able to play these sports again,” said Matias Ferreira, Wounded Warriors Catcher.
But there’s something that sets him and the rest of his team apart from many softball teams across the world.
“I’m with the first battalion, 8th marine. I was a machine gunner, I was on my last detail in Afghanistan and I stepped on a land mine, lost both my legs below my knees,” said Ferreira.
The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team took on local law enforcement on Saturday at NYSEG Stadium. A game both teams have been preparing for, but one Binghamton’s finest were honored to play in and fans were honored to watch.
“There’s a couple of guys missing both legs and they’re out there diving for softballs.
These guys do not slow down in the slightest bit,” said Bob Charpinsky, Binghamton Police.
Dave Aswad, Kirkwood Resident, added, “I’m a Vietnam Vet and I’m pretty active with the DAV, so I’m out here to support those guys.”
The Warriors are made up of veterans and active duty soldiers lost limbs while serving their country, many after 9/11. Some players have amputations of the arm, leg or foot among others. They play with a passion unmatched by many teams.
“I think all of us have that drive and motivation. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t,” said Saul Bosquez, Wounded Warriors Third Baseman.
Todd Reed, Wounded Warriors Right Center, added, “It’s almost like a dream come true to play on a minor league field.”
The team aims to raise awareness of the sacrifices many make for their country and show how they go beyond the limits of prosthetic technology. Each athlete has gone through extensive rehabilitation and training in order to play sport they love.
“It was really tough. The first four months I couldn’t wear a leg, I was working out with no leg then I had to learn how to walk again its kind hard, because you don’t know what you’re capable of but you just have to push yourself,” said Nicholas Clark, Wounded Warriors Left Field.
David Van Sleet, Wounded Warriors Founder and Head Coach, added, "It's not about winning. These guys have already won, they’ve won a long time ago by living and being able to walk again and getting on with their personal life and by playing a sport.”
As the team says, “A life without limbs is limitless.”
The team will take on Law Enforcement and Firefighters on Sunday at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown. The game is set to start at 1 p.m.