Fort Hood Hosts Wheelchair Basketball Tourney


FORT HOOD, Texas -- Fort Hood's Warrior Transition Brigade hosted a wheelchair basketball tournament Nov. 21 at Abrams Physical Fitness Center that involved teams of WTB Soldiers together with teams from the community.

Put on during Warrior Care Month, Capt. Latonya James, the WTB's adaptive reconditioning program officer-in-charge, said she felt hosting the tournament in November fit with the spirit of the month.

"This gives us the opportunity to show what we do as far as the adaptive reconditioning here at the Warrior Transition Brigade," she said.

Competing against four companies within 1st Battalion, WTB -- Companies A, B, C and D -- was a team of Soldiers from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and the local Harker Heights Hustlers.

"It shows our Soldiers that not only do we care about them, but the community cares about them as well," James said, speaking to the importance of the community's involvement with the tournament. "It gives them that reinforcement of support to our Soldiers going through their transition."

One competing WTB Soldier, Sgt. Charles Hightower, a member of Co. A's team, said wheelchair basketball has been a great outlet for him since being injured in combat.

"I started playing wheelchair basketball last year because of a sergeant that I had in my company, Sgt. 1st Class (Charles) Armstead," Hightower said. "He lost his leg during combat, and I was going through some similar things -- I had ankle surgery, and the doctor pretty much told me that I wasn't going to be able to play basketball anymore, so I got into this."

Through the sport, Hightower said he's been able meet interesting people and form bonds with others going through a similar situation.

"Playing this, it's a great stress relief -- the camaraderie, the competition," he said.

Speaking to the competition side of things, Hightower did point out that they were playing basketball, and things can get heated from time to time on the court.

In his team's first game of the tournament, they were tied 8-8 at halftime with Co. B.

When asked if he thought they were going to win, he said, "Oh yeah, we're going to pull it out."

Co. A finished the game ahead 23-15.

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