Racquetball helping wounded soldiers transition to civilian life

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by Ryan O'Donnell

WHAS11.com

Posted on February 16, 2013 at 10:04 PM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A national racquetball tournament at ASU is lending a court to help the wounded warrior program.
 
“A bunch of military guys trying to show everybody else that we can also play no matter what kind of injuries we have,” said Jacob Delagarza, who is a "double" Purple Heart recipient.

The humble Delagarza lost his left leg during battle in Afghanistan in 2011.
 
“That just means the enemy got me twice, everybody takes it differently, but I'm here and I'm still fighting,” said Delagarza.
 
He’s fighting now on the racquetball court instead of the battlefield, in a program created by retired US Navy Lt. Commander Steven Harper.

It’s called the Military Racquetball Federation and it helps wounded soldiers like Delagarza rebuild their strength and their psyches.

It's a philosophy mirrored by local prosthetic entrepreneur and amputee Rich Sainz, who was thrilled to rally a bit with the decorated Delagarza.
 
“He brings an awful lot of inspiration even to myself, having been an amputee my whole life, it's a privilege and honor to work and help run these clinics and to help be a part of it and I'm inspired by people like him,” said Sainz.
 
“I'm always a happy person so it really doesn't affect me, but other guys like to take their anger out there and they leave it in the court, it helps a lot of people out,” said Delagarza.
 
 

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