Warriors triumph over First Responders
By Kristian O'Hara
The Wounded Warriors defeated the 9/11 First Responders in their annual football game, 32-14.
The Warriors maintained an undefeated record in this game, played every year during Super Bowl Week. With the Super Bowl in New Jersey this year, the game was played at the Essex County Codey Arena in West Orange, NJ.
The Wounded Warriors team is made up of men who were severely injured in combat while serving the United States, severely enough to make them amputees. The interesting twist to these games is that notable NFL Alumni participate in them. This game was no different. Chris Simms played at quarterback for the First Responders. Vince Papale played wide receiver for the Wounded Warriors. Another notable participant was Kenny Mayne of ESPN. The captains for the game were former Giants wide receiver Phil McConkey, former Jets defensive linemen Joe Klecko and former Steelers running back Rocky Bleier. The fact that former NFL players respect these men as their heroes means we should do the same. Their sacrifices keep our freedom intact. One man who lost his leg in Iraq is an example this sentiment.
Brian Taylor Urruela was two days away from leaving Iraq and returning home. However, on October 22nd, 2006, after a year-long tour to Baghdad, he was hit by a roadside bomb. After trying to save his leg for two years and having thirty five surgeries, Brian decided to amputate his leg for a better quality of life. Two years later, he returned to what he called "civilian life." He said that he started his own non for profit organization and games like this help him deal with his situation, “Just being out here with the guys, being able to compete again, it’s great”, said Urruela.
Brian is an example of a man who almost lost his life serving this country and now is benefitted by an organization such as Wounded Warriors. The game was a mere backdrop to what is really important, honoring these men for who they are and what they sacrificed to keep us safe at home. They are warriors in every sense of the word.