Dan Rose, a former U.S. Army sergeant paralyzed by a 1,100-pound bomb in Afghanistan in 2011, will throw out the first pitch at Tuesday’s Arizona Diamondbacks-New York Yankees game with the aid of an exoskeleton donated by SoldierStrong, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing advanced medical technologies to veterans.
“Being able to throw out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game is a thrill of a lifetime,” said Rose, who demonstrated the EksoGT Suit exoskeleton earlier in the day when SoldierStrong donated one to the Phoenix VA Health Care System.
A member of the Army Reserves for a decade, Rose was severely injured when an improvised explosive device was detonated near him. The explosion left him paralyzed from the chest down, but he refused to allow the injuries of his life-changing sacrifice to define the rest of his life. After receiving access to advanced medical technology, Rose has become involved in many adaptive sports competitions and winning gold medals along the way.
Derrick Hall, the club’s president and chief executive officer, said the entire organization was eager to see Rose on the field.
“We salute Sergeant Rose for his service and sacrifice and we cannot wait to see him throw out this first pitch using the exoskeleton from SoldierStrong,” Hall said. “The Arizona Diamondbacks are very proud to support so many local and national charities that benefit our military with funds raised at our annual Veteran’s Day golf tournament. We owe our servicemen and women a huge debt of gratitude and this is just one small way to give back to someone who has given so much.”
Since SoldierStrong’s inception following the tragic events of 9/11, the Stamford, Conn.-based organization has donated more than $3 million of medical devices to help injured veterans.
“Today’s contribution marks a significant milestone. It is our 20th exoskeleton donation and represents a doubling of our initial commitment to donate 10 such high-tech medical devices to benefit our country’s injured veterans,” said Chris Meek, SoldierStrong co-founder. “We’re extremely proud to help as many veterans as we can so that they will experience the physical and emotional benefits of standing and walking again.”
The donation to the Phoenix VA Health Care System was also the 16th exoskeleton donation to the VA systems across the nation.