COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – The National Wheelchair Basketball Association is excited to start “Veteran’s Week” highlighting the United States Armed Forces within the NWBA. The United States Armed Forces consist of Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. The United States has recognized this observed holiday since 1918, though under the name Veteran’s Day since 1954. The NWBA’s Veteran’s Week will conclude on 99th university of Veteran’s Day on Saturday, November 11.
John “JD” Drinkard of Daphne, Alabama joined the Alabama Army National Guard after graduating from Baldwin County High School. He entered “Active Duty” status a year after the attacks of the World Trade Centers in New York, New York.
With the 711 Signal Battalion, JD served one tour in Iraq in 2004-2005. He was assigned to the 4th Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division where he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal, Combat Action Badge and Order of the Spur.
Following his deployment in Iraq, Specialist (SPC) Drinkard volunteered to serve for Task Force Alabama. Task Force Alabama served two natural disaster relief missions following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Drinkard was awarded multiple Army Achievement Medals for his service with Task Force Alabama.
Sergeant First Class (SFC) John D. Drinkard was placed on the Temporary Disability Retirement List September 12, 2016 due to complications from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that resulted in him becoming hemiplegic in his right leg and confined to a wheelchair.
SFC Drinkard found wheelchair basketball while assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion, a program that provides personalized support to wounded, ill and injured Soldiers in rehabilitative care, at Fort Benning, Georgia. While being exposed to several different adaptive sports with the Warrior Transition Battalion, Drinkard developed a passion for wheelchair basketball. Drinkard continued wheelchair basketball with the Mobile Patriots of Mobile, Alabama once he was released from active duty.
“I love this game, but I love to demonstrate the resiliency of American Military forces by playing these exhibition games and introducing people to the sport that allows our wounded military the opportunity to continue to compete at a very high level,” Drinkard said.
Drinkard is amidst his second year as an athlete with the NWBA. Drinkard is playing on the Mobile Patriots of the Adult Division II in the NWBA. Drinkard and his wife, Jennifer, currently reside in Fairhope, AL.