I was a little confused when I met Army Sergeant Kevin Brown a few weeks back, at an event benefiting the Redskins Charitable Foundation. Brown was having the Redskins players and alumni at the event sign his Redskins-themed prosthetic right leg, but that wasn’t what was confusing: what was confusing was that I was sure that I had seen him before, but that he had a DIFFERENT Redskins-themed prosthetic right leg.
Turns out I was correct; Brown was a visitor at training camp back in 2008, and I spoke to him very briefly then. (Dan Steinberg also blogged about him at the time.)
Turns out that Brown is on to his THIRD Redskins-themed prosthetic. “I had one last year that has the Super Bowl rings on it,” he said; that’s the one that was at training camp last year. “But unfortunately limbs, with heat and change and surgery and stuff… well, things change. So I can’t fit that one anymore, and I had to retire it. It has a lot of signatures on it, so it was gonna be put away anyway. This is the new one.”
Brown served in Iraq but lost his leg, ironically, in a motorcycle accident AFTER returning home.
“I made it back from Iraq,” he said. “I was riding my motorcycle, got cut off and was thrown off an overpass, fell 150 feet down. It’s amazing to make it back from Iraq and then lose a leg to something like that.”
Brown remains exceedingly upbeat — “My first comment when I knew I lost my leg was ‘At least I’m still alive,'” he said, “so I’ve always been positive about it. It doesn’t stop me.” — and is enthusiastic about his Redskins fandom.
“I’ve always been a Redskins fan,” he said. “I’m a pretty die-hard fan, and when they said you could bring any type of shirt or fabric like that, I said, ‘I’m gonna do a Redskins one.’ You just bring in any type of fabric, and they put it over your socket and laminate it, all the different stuff they do to it.”
The event that day was a Sporting Clay Challenge sponsored by NRA Sports, which was an interesting experience in its own right. For those who — like me — don’t know much about this, a sporting clay challenge is target shooting a clay disc that’s launched into the sky, and it’s basically run like a golf tournament: there are four- or five-somes and eighteen shooting stands, each with it’s own specific pattern of clays.
The groups go from stand to stand, trying — and, often, failing — to shoot the clays out of the sky. Only three players were able to make it to the event: Colt Brennan, Kevin Barnes, and practice squad offensive tackle Will Robinson.
Barnes was so unfamiliar with guns that he was almost unable to find the shooting park, even though it was only five minutes from where he attended college. “It wasn’t even on my GPS map,” he said. “Lookin’ at it, it said I was off-road.” But he managed to pick a few out of the air.
And Brennan, an accomplished hunter and fisherman, also acquitted himself well.
The breakout shooting star of the day, though, was Robinson. And he came by his shooting experience in an unusual way. “It was my first time skeet shooting,” he said, “but my dad’s on the SWAT team, so I’ve done shooting with him. At a young age he taught me gun safety, how to use a gun.”
(Gun safety was, thankfully, a main message of the event, and one that was repeated and reinforced often.)
“I thought I did well,” Robinson said. “I wasn’t as good as some of the guys in my group, who were just, like, professionals at it. You didn’t do too badly yourself,” he added.
This was pure politeness. I shot with Robinson’s group for a bit; my primary goal was not to humiliate myself. I thought I had succeeded until the enormous bruise developed on my arm from the kick of the gun and Robinson said, “Yeah, you were chicken-winging it; that happens if you hold the gun wrong. But it was working for you, so I didn’t want to correct you midway through.”
He shrugged. “You picked it up in the second half, anyway.”
My embarrassment aside, it was at least an entertaining event. “It was definitely fun,” Barnes said, “and it was a charity thing. It’s something I could want to get into, I think. Eventually.”
Robinson concurred. “There were a lot of really nice people there,” he said. “Ate some good food, benefits the Redskins Charitable Foundation. You can’t beat that.”
And it gave them all — and Redskins great Dave Butz (below) — a chance to sign the very latest in Redskins prosthetic limbs, which was also a very good thing.
Tags: Fans, redskins prosthetic limbs, RedskinsProstheticLimbs
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