Football with a purpose

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It was a flag football game like few offers where the heroes were men and women who returned from war with battle scars.

They were part of the WWAFT, Wounded Warrior Amputee Football team, who clashed with Atlanta Falcons and retired NFL players at XL Sports in Fairburn.

In the WWAFT ranks was an active military member; Purple Heart recipient, Army Green Beret Staff Sargent Richard Stayskal.

He’s battling stage four terminal lung cancer, which he says was misdiagnosed by military doctors.

Now he wants other military members to have what he is seeking.

“They would have the option to sue if needed to if their diagnosis met the criteria they would be allowed to seek recourse,” said Stayscal.

He came to Atlanta at the request of former Falcons linebacker Chris Draft who was part of the game, sadly without his wife Keisha, who died from lung cancer several years ago.

“He’s like too many people it’s diagnosed late but in his case, it maybe could have been found earlier. With somebody like Rich this is the perfect place to honor him as we honor wounded warriors,” said Draft.

It’s a game where honor, patriotism, and participation all have a place for veterans like B.J. Gannem.

“So I was injured November 24, 2004, by a roadside bomb,” said Gannem.

He said he’s happy to be alive to play in the game when the man at his side in Iraq was killed.

“This is what this games about, showcasing what the individual challenges that we have, we can overcome them we are than we think,” said Gannem.

This WWAFT have clashed against the pros 19 times, eight games during Super Bowl week.

The Wounded Warriors Amputee Football team, the victor, each time against the likes of  17 years NFL veteran Ron Jaworski.

“I feel honored and blessed just to be asked to walk on the field with these guys. They represent all that is great our county,” said Jaworski.

The final score for Wednesday night’s game was 58-35, with the WWAFT winning for the 20th straight time.

If you’d like to learn more about the background of Staff Sgt. Richard Stayskal efforts to be able to sue the military go this website at