Over the last few weeks I’ve been in touch with Sergeant Christopher Lowe, of the United State Army, regarding Chris and The Army’s efforts to make WheelChair Lacrosse a reality. SGT Lowe was wounded while serving our country abroad, and upon returning to the US, he began his road to recovery. Part of that journey included participating in the Warrior Games. The Warrior Games are an opportunity for both current and former service members to incorporate athletic training as a part of their overall transition back to civilian life and the recovery plan for their injuries.
Right now, the Warrior Games don’t have a lacrosse offering, but SGT Lowe is now organizing wheelchair lacrosse at Fort Stewart in Georgia, and he’s hoping that Wheelchair Lacrosse for soldiers can make a big showing at the NEXT Warrior Games. Check out the interview below to see how much progress has already been made, and to see how YOU can help these very deserving guys reach their goals!
Why did you decide to start this wheelchair lacrosse program?
I was wounded in Afghanistan in 2009 and lacrosse became part of my recovery plan because of my love for the sport. In 2010 I competed in the Warrior Games and I was really wishing that lacrosse was part of the games. So I have been working very hard to develop this program for the other Warriors.
When did this program start? And where exactly are you located?
Ft Stewart Wheelchair lacrosse was officially started during the summer of 2011 at Ft Stewart, Ga, which is located in Hinesville, Ga.
What is the goal of the program?
The goal of the program is not winning or losing. It is to develop team building and communication skills, so that when soldiers transition back to civilian life, they can take these skills to their new jobs and succeed.
What are the programs needs right now? A place to play? Competition? Equipment? How can our readers get involved to help you guys out?
Our major needs right now are outfitting and equipping our goalie(s), team practice pinnies and shorts, shooter shirts, and another program to play against!!!! The easiest way to get involved quickly is to email me at Christopher.M.Lowe1@us.army.mil
What are the ultimate goals for this first ever US military program?
The goal of our command is to have the sport become the newest, most physical sport in the US Military’s ” Warrior Games “.
It’s great to see the US military taking the extra steps to help wounded veterans. Where did this idea come from? And why is it so important?
The conceptual idea for wheelchair lacrosse actually came from a similar organization in California called WheelChair Lacrosse. And this idea is important to the wounded warriors because it helps the wounded feel like they are part of a team again.
What are you guys using for a playing surface right now?
Currently the only place we have to play for our program is the Newman Gym, which is located at Ft Stewart, GA.
Do any of the guys who are going to be playing have a lot of lacrosse experience?
I’m actually the only guy that has any lacrosse experience.
Have you been in touch with USMA, USNA and AFA to get their help with the program?
It’s still early, and we have not been in contact with all of the service academies, but we have been talking to West Point about maybe doing something with the Cadets.
Lacrosse and the military have a pretty strong bond, and the three largest military academies all offer D1 NCAA lax. And recently, the WheelChair Lacrosse guys out in California played an NLL all star team in a game of wheelchair lacrosse. Is there any possibility that this group you have at Ft Stewart could eventually play the academies in wheelchair lacrosse?
We would be thrilled to play any of the military schools; whether be it one of the Service Academies or VMI, which is located in Virginia.
Has anyone or any company been especially helpful so far? Someone you want to give a shout out?
Harrow and Easton have been our biggest two sponsors so far, helping to equip and get playing uniforms for the soldiers.
Is this the type of program that could expand to other military bases?
Our goal in fiscal year 2012 is to expand to at least two to three other bases, and maybe even help to start a Team Semper Fi, for the wounded US Marines.
Tell us a little bit more about the 2012 Warrior Games. How will you guys be involved in that?
Once the game is expanded Ft Stewart, would like to see wheelchair lacrosse added to the line up of team sports at the 2012 Warrior Games. Last week soldiers were asked to fill out sheets for possible participation interest and lacrosse was listed as one of the sports for 2012. So we’re making strides.
Anything else you’d like to add?
To anyone that would like to donate: please don’t hesitate to email me (email address is above in the post), the military can not solicit people, and that makes it a little difficult, but anything that is donated from shirts and balls to sticks and gloves will 100% go to our wounded warriors.
All photos and video was taken from the US Department of Defense website.