COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – This year, the United States celebrates the 99th year of commemoration that Americans remember those who served our country in uniform on November 11, 2017. Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day until 1954, is honored on November 11 as this was the day when fighting ceased during World War I.
It was after World War II when wheelchair basketball started through Veterans Administration Hospitals in Birmingham, California; Framingham, Maryland; and the Corona Naval Station in California in 1946. Two years later, Dr. Timothy Nugent formed the National Wheelchair Basketball Association that was comprised of the VA Hospital Teams and a few other new teams across the country.
Today, 15 percent of the NWBA athlete population are veterans. The NWBA has supported programming for veterans in many different forms, and continues to provide the Operation Rebound program to veterans who have an interest in the sport of wheelchair basketball. The NWBA also provides support to other military programs that feature veterans with a disability – Invictus Games; Paralyzed Veterans Association Games; Warrior Games; and others.
“It is important for the NWBA to continue to support our veterans every day, and we take pride in the continuance of programming for those who have served our country and protected our freedoms,” said Anthony Bartkowski, NWBA Executive Director. “One of our initiatives is to re-deploy Operation Rebound into a local market perspective to create new teams across the country, and identify new athletes.”
Through the NWBA’s Operation Rebound program, two athletes have found recent success in wheelchair basketball. The first is Jorge Salazar of Bakersfield, California was a member of the 2017 U.S. Men’s National Team that competed at the 2017 Amercia’s Cup in Cali, Columbia. The other athlete Eric Rodriguez is a student-athlete at the University of Missouri.
Salazar and Rodriguez will be featured by Fox Sports Network in video segments during pre and post game broadcast of NBA games on Saturday, November 11. The NWBA will share these video segments on the NWBA website and social media accounts.
Today we celebrate the United States Armed Forces, the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard and their families for their support, courage, and service of our country, the United States of America. The NWBA Board of Directors, staff, national teams and all other members thank all military personal for their service to this country.
The National Wheelchair Basketball Association has celebrated “Veteran’s Week” from November 6th to 11th. Veteran’s Week has highlighted 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.