Hoops for Troops: The USA National Team Visits Walter Reed
Oct. 1, 2009 - Washington, D.C.
|Seimone Augustus, who is recovering from a torn ACL, isn't fully able to participate in practice. However, she joins in when she can: stretching, passing and shooting. (Photo: Ned Dishman / NBAE / Getty Images)|
While all of the soldiers had different stories of how they were wounded, what really struck everyone on the tour was the fact that every single one of them was positive about their situation. When one soldier was asked if he would return to Afghanistan if he were able, the answer came without hesitation. Without a doubt this soldier, who was lucky to be alive, let alone walk, after being sent flying out of his truck due to a roadside bomb, would want to return to help free Afghanistan from the Taliban.
After hearing stories from recovering soldiers, the team left the main hospital building and went across the medical center grounds to the Mologne House, where soldiers were into the next stage of recovery. Some had already been fitted for prosthetics, some were walking with the aid of a cane, others were in wheelchairs, but the common thread among all the soldiers remained the same: they were all positive and positively excited to meet with the USA National Team members.
|- Due to U.S. Army regulations, we're not allowed to post photos from today's hospital visit, however, we do have some great shots from today's practice. Check out the Photo Gallery & Practice Video!|
USA To Host Open Practice for members of the Military & their Families
Overheard among the crowded foyer:
-Hey! I know that girl! She's from Tennessee, isn't she?"
-They're all so beautiful. I never realized that from TV."
-That one, on the right. She was in the Final Four, right?"
-I don't watch basketball, except for the Olympics. I'm not a basketball fan. But I do watch whenever the Olympics are on. I remember seeing her during the Olympics."
-Oh, I forgot my camera. Man!"
After being reminded of the USA's open practice being hosted for members of the military and their families at Walter Reed's Wagner Gym on Saturday, that last guy nodded his head and said he would most definitely not forget his camera on Saturday.
You get the drift. The response was overwhelming. But don't take our word for it, USA Basketball.com sat down with a few of the USA athletes following the visit to get their take on the day.
Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx
It was an eye-opening experience. Just to know that these guys go out and risk their lives every day and not know if they're going to come back home alive or not. To hear about their experiences is a motivational factor for me. Going through my rehab and stuff like that, I've been feeling down on myself and depressed and I shouldn't. They've been through worse things than me and they're calm. You go and visit them and you see them glow and you see how happy that they are to be here to live another day. I realize what I'm going through is really not that bad, compared with what they're going through. I was really surprised at how positive they all were. I expected it to be a sad situation, but it wasn't. It was a good situation, even for the families, the relatives that were in there. They were happy. They were excited to see their relative back, knowing that they'll be here to live a happy life, a normal life. I really appreciated visiting them today.
Shameka Christon, New York Liberty
I was very, very honored. It was a privilege to get a chance to listen to the stories that they had. Knowing that they're going over there to fight for us. It's amazing to get a chance to actually meet them and listen to what they had to say. For me, it was definitely fulfilling in so many ways and I'm really happy I had this opportunity.
Lindsey Harding, Washington Mystics
I don't think I had any expectations going in. I've never been to a hospital like that before. I tell you, a lot of the people I met there were so inspiring. They sit there and say, -thank you for coming. Thank you," but we were the ones thanking them for what they did for our country. What they continue to want to do with an injury. They want to get as healthy as they can and go back because they really believe what they're doing for us. I had a great time because every single one I talked to had a very positive attitude and a very positive mindset. It is a reality check. We need to be thankful just for the fact that we can wake up every morning , because that's what it's about.
Sylvia Fowles, Chicago Sky
I enjoyed myself for the most part. It was very eye-opening just to see these people from the war who were banged up and injured, but still had the right mindset about life. I'm happy we paid a visit to them because they really look forward to these (types of) visits. They tell us how we lighten their day, so I'm happy I was able to help someone smile today.
Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream
This meant a lot to me. To see their faces light up was great, it gives you a warm feeling inside. One of the guys said -we really appreciate you doing this." They were so appreciative, but yet it's like, no, what we're doing is nothing compared to what you guys do. Words can't describe it. A couple of the guys said they'd see us Saturday, so we'll probably be talking some more after they see us play.
Maya Moore, University of Connecticut
I was happy to see how happy they were about us coming and spending some time with them. The things that they have to go through and deal with everyday doesn't compare with what we have to go through. Yet they were still as appreciative to see us. To see how some of the troops who were injured, express their passion for wanting to be in the Army. Knowing, if they were able, they would want to go back and continue to fight for our country and protect all of us here at home. It was a real humbling experience. It helps you keep things in perspective. It's a little reality check. I was happy we were able to make their day a little bit better.