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Wheels of Courage reveals the inspiring story of the world's first wheelchair athletes: U.S. soldiers, sailors, and Marines who were paralyzed on the battlefield during World War II. They organized the first-ever wheelchair basketball teams within V.A. hospitals after the war, which quickly spread across the nation and changed the perception and treatment of disabled people. This book follows the lives of three of these vets, describing their time in the military, their injuries, their recovery, and their role in creating wheelchair basketball.
These men changed the narrative of disability, from one of pity to a new story of hope and endless potential. Their doctors changed the way the medical community looked at and treated disabled patients by treating the whole patient instead of just trying to make people as comfortable as possible in hopeless situations. And laws started changing to make the world more accessible to the disabled -- things we take for granted today, like sidewalk ramps.
For the disabled, for sports fans, for veterans, for history buffs -- this is a narrative of hope, perseverance, and acceptance. (Center Street)
David Davis is the author and/or editor of six books, including Waterman: The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku (Univ. of Nebraska Press); Showdown at Shepherd's Bush: The 1908 Olympic Marathon and the Three Runners Who Launched a Sporting Craze (St. Martin's); and Play By Play: Los Angeles Sports Photography: 1889-1989 (Angel City Press). He began his career as a journalist with the LA Weekly newspaper and his work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, SB Nation, Deadspin, and Vice, among others, and has been anthologized in "The Best American Sports Writing" series.
Ron Kovic served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. He was paralyzed from his chest down in combat in 1968 and has been in a wheelchair ever since. Along with Oliver Stone, Kovic was the coscreenwriter of the 1989 Academy Award–winning film based on Kovic’s best-selling memoir Born on the Fourth of July (starring Tom Cruise as Kovic). Hurricane Street is his latest work.