Find a League In Your Area
By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — A group of injured marines and navy corpsman are in the
metro this week learning the ins and outs of an entirely new battlefield.
For these wounded warriors, the Slammers Sports Complex is the start of a
new brotherhood for some and an escape for others. It’s here they are
preparing to leave the military and training to become part of America’s
As they step onto the Turf at Slammers South fourteen of America’s
Warriors prepare for training of a new kind.
"This is valuable. Being able to come out here and be connected with
another brotherhood and another association, group, a network of friends that
will keep in touch with you, help you out, talk to you when you need it,” said Anthony Gourley, a U.S. Marine who’s already had six knee surgeries. "It’s
definitely an amazing opportunity for us.”
Some of men walk with a cane, others hide burns and scars, but all are
wounded combat Marines and Corpsmen ready for a new start.
"Most of them are purple heart recipients. They have PTSD, they have
TDI, they have various limb injuries. They’ve been blown up, they’ve been
shot,” said lead instructor Jimmy Craig, himself a former Marine. "But the
physical wounds will heal; it’s the mental wounds that we don’t see that don’t
always heal. This is a great way for them to get therapy.”
They are here for the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy, a nine day
training camp that will soon then put them on a field of their own.
The camp aims to give injured soldiers the ability to umpire a baseball
game, a skill that organizers say will give them a new job that will supplement
their pay, but more importantly, provide a complementary form of
"This program right here saves lives,” said Phillip Lopez, a Navy Corpsman
injured in Afghanstan by an IED. "This gets them out of that negative
thought process of ‘I can’t do anything’ and ‘I have nobody there for me’ and
shows them they can do it. It shows them they are still cared for.”
Organizers of the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy hope to make this an annual
camp growing to 40 marines in umpire training next year.
They are a non-profit funded by donations. If you’d like to learn more,
visit their GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign site or their Facebook page.