Daniel "Doc" Jacobs said he always had two dreams: One, to fight for freedom in a war like his ancestors have done. And two, to play Major League Baseball, the Daily Bulletin reports. At only 27 years old, he has now accomplished both goals.
Jacobs, an Iraq war veteran who lost part of his leg in an explosion, was among 80 hopefuls gathered at the Dodgers' Camelback Ranch training field Thursday. He was encouraged to try out by Hall of Famer and former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, FOX reports.
Jacobs was injured by an improvised explosive device when he was assigned to a Marine division in 2006, ESPN reports. He lost his left leg below the knee, sustained foot and hand injuries and went through more than 50 surgeries.
The young vet said trying out for the Dodgers was about making a statement.
"It's all about the experience, and letting America and these guys know that not all disabled veterans are going to be a statistic in the news," he said to the Long Beach Press Telegram. "I'm here to combat the suicide rate, homicide rate, divorce rate statistics. I just want to get out there and prove to America there are awesome disabled veterans out there and we are making a stand against that."
Photos of veterans who have undergone facial reconstructive surgery through UCLA's Operation Mend program:
All photos courtesy of Operation Mend.