Philly sports writers recognize wounded veteran as most courageous athlete

Mark Abrams
January 21, 2020 - 7:54 am
Kevin McCloskey

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association has recognized an Afghan War veteran as its most courageous athlete.

Kevin McCloskey, 32, of Tacony, who lost both of his legs when his Humvee ran over an explosive device 12 years ago, was recognized Monday night for his achievements in golf, a sport he rarely played while growing up. 

McCloskey played football when he was younger. He was also a wrestler. Now, he plays in golf tournaments and is a regular on golf courses, playing the game two to three days a week.

"I started golfing six years ago, and it's changed everything in my life. It's gotten me through some tough times," McCloskey said. 

"The reason I chose golf, I think, is because I wanted to beat the guys that were still fully capable. And I don't look at myself as any less capable. It takes me a little bit longer to get ready, and I'm sore constantly, but I know that there is no difference."

McCloskey says the physical challenge has been helpful in his recovery.

He says he doesn't consider himself a model of courage. Rather, he says, his support system really defines courage. 

"It's a lot to do with the people that are around me — because if it wasn't for my family, my friends and my wife, none of this is possible," he said.

McCloskey says he's managed to put his physical injuries behind him.

"Now is the time for me to start healing my mind," he said. "And for years, I didn't think that that was an issue. And now, I'm starting to see what other veterans have seen in their daily life."

McCloskey says going out to meet and talk with more veterans in recent years about their shared experiences has helped him in the healing process.