National Warrior Tennis Camp kicks off third year at Balboa Tennis Club

Over 50 wounded and military veterans from across the country traveling to San Diego to for the chance to make a racquet on the court.

“There is a lot of winning aspects – meeting all the veterans from all over the country,” says double amputee Bruce Patton.

“Tennis is an avenue to get out and go do some things, and it has just been phenomenal,” adds Air Force veteran Terry Starkey.

Whether they’re an experienced player or picking up the racquet for the first time in years, all have found a new love for the sport.

“I’ve tried various wheelchair sports, you know through the years, but right now I play tennis,” says Patton.

“The last time I picked up a tennis racquet was 1998 or ’99, and I didn’t have all the techniques that they are teaching me here. It was just stuff that I had learned in high school,” says Starkey.

“No idea! It’s always exciting for me because I have the utmost respect for the sport,” says three year camp participant Laura Ortiz.

Joining forces on the tennis court also joining new friends.

“I’m going to take a lot of friendships away from here, and that gives me an opportunity to network through some of the other injured soldiers that have some of the same problems I do. Gives us an opportunity to talk back and forth,” says Starkey.

“The camaraderie yes, and you get to something that you really love or that you’re learning about, it’s like it constantly keeps you curious. But also you never know who’s going to be watching and say wow ‘I could do that. I didn’t even know that I could do that,'” says Ortiz.

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