The NWBA spent part of 2015 building on the foundation of the organization’s long time existing service to military veterans with disabilities. With the generous support of the Department of Veteran Affairs, the NWBA Operation Rebound was able to offer three development clinics specifically for veterans and active duty service members with physical disabilities.
The first camp was held at the 2015 National Championship Tournament. Forty-five veterans, coaches and veteran volunteers participated at this year’s National Tournament, April 16-19 in Louisville, KY. Head Coach Doug Garner coordinated a coaching and support staff of 10, with another 6 veterans who were rostered on teams competing the tournament also helping out.
The three day camp included offensive and defensive drills, game strategies, shooting and rebounding drills. Players were introduced to issues including classification, proper fitting for basketball chairs and a variety of veteran support services.
Sports ‘N Sports captured the essence of the NWBT Military Camp in a great article called Bond Over Basketball.
The two days of clinics ended with head-to-head competition with the veterans dividing into four teams and playing a round-robin tournament. This event represent the first event in a new initiative designated for veterans and active duty service members with disabilities taken on by the NWBA and made possible by an Adapted Sports Grant from the Department of Veteran Affairs.
The remaining two camps were held during the summer off season. Camp 2 was hosted by Doug Garner and the University of Texas – Arlington, July 28-29 and had 20 participants. The UTA camp provided participants both a basketball camp and a college experience on a large college campus.
Camp 3 was held on August 25 at Fort Stewart, GA, and made possible by Buddy Karolev, the Adapted Sports Coordinator and staff from the Warrior Transition Unit. This program had 18 participants. Three veterans from North Carolina joined 15 active duty service members for a full day of basketball skills, drills and competition.
Veterans and active duty service members with disabilities interested in more information on the NWBA’s new Military Sports Program should contact Jeff Jones, NWBA Associate Director of Sport and Veteran Initiatives.