Amputee veterans get spotlight in football game against ex-NFL players

Wounded Warrior team brings awareness to veterans
Posted at 3:00 AM, Jun 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-22 14:00:37-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The NFL is coming back to San Diego this week.  Friday night, a group of ex-NFL players will face one of their toughest opponents yet: The Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team.

The game, at Cathedral Catholic High, is meant to raise awareness for veterans' issues and the Wounded Warrior programs.

"The first time I saw it, wow, it’s difficult to put it into words how amazing it is," says Chris Draft, who had a 12 year NFL career. He's played in this game 14 times.

The game features Veterans who lost a limb in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Similar games have been played in conjunction with each of the last 7 Super Bowls.

Friday night's game will be played at Cathedral Catholic High School. At 5:30 pm, a veterans motorcycle escort will bring the players to the field. There will be a concert, autographs and raffles of NFL memorabilia.

The game itself, Draft says, is inspiring.

"This game challenges you to be better. Physically, mentally and spiritually," he says. "It challenges you to push yourself to limits. And when you do that, it’s not just physically that you’re better, it’s across the board."

Some of the ex-NFL stars expected to play include Darren Bennett, Rolf Benirschke, Ryan Leaf, Jeff Garcia, Steve Beuerlein, Lorenzo Neal, Kyle Turley, Nick Hardwick, Dan Sileo, Todd Marinovich, Freddie Keiaho and JT O'Sullivan.

But the real stars are the Veterans, who get the biggest ovations from every crowd they play in front of.

"I’m looking forward to San Diego showing up," says Draft. "With all the military connections here... I’m ready for this place to be packed and excited and cheer. And when one of our guys scores a touchdown, this place will just explode."

Tickets to the game are $10, or free for Military members and their family. You can buy them in advance here, or at the gate.