Draft Visits Wounded Vets At Walter Reed

January 14, 2008

Draft Visits Wounded Vets At Walter Reed

Mike Poland Stlouisrams.com

The original idea of a 2-hour tour through the Walter Reed Army Medical Center turned into a 5 ½ hour visit once linebacker Chris Draft started talking with the hospital’s patients.

Draft visited over 50 veterans on Wednesday, January 2 at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. He was able to visit every ward of the hospital while talking with many of the patients and distributing posters as he went from room to room.

“Playing on five different teams, living all over the U.S. and having family in the Midwest made it easy for me to relate with any of the veterans no matter what their background,” Draft said.

The Walter Reed General Hospital opened in 1909 and has a long tradition of patient care, medical research and educational development. The hospital serves as a tribute to the vision, intelligence and dedication of the men and women who have worked there through the years. Their mission is to provide every patient with the finest in personalized health care service.

"It is heartwarming to see an outstanding professional athlete donate his time and energy to express thanks to the young men and women who have sacrificed for our freedom,” said Disabled American Veterans spokesman Thom Wilborn.

The hospital recently opened a new 31,000 square-foot rehabilitation facility with state-of-the-art physical and occupational therapy, sports programs, virtual reality systems and training with prosthetics to help veterans regain a range of abilities.

"Even with all of the cutting edge technology it’s all about the mindset of the veteran,” Draft said. "It’s a reminder for all of us that it is up to you to get better.”

Along with handing out autographed photos and posters, Draft will also send the patients t-shirts from the Chris Draft Family Foundation.

"Chris Draft came on his own, at his own expense, to say thanks to some severely wounded soldiers. Our soldiers love football, and it is such a thrill to see their faces light up when a player of Chris’ stature enters the room,"Wilborn said.