Ryan Baker

Wounded service members take on wheelchair lacrosse, embrace sport for it physicality, mental benefits

They had strapped on gloves, donned helmets, grabbed their lacrosse sticks and lobbed balls around the gym in preparation for a scrimmage. And then they got one key piece of instruction:

It's better to throw the ball over a teammate's head than at his feet, especially if, like the small group gathered at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center lacrosse clinic, the teammate is in a wheelchair.

Wounded and recovering service members lined up on a court in Bethesda, Md., to see how the fast-paced sport commonly played on a field would translate to two wheels in a room.

Sports such as wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby are better known; they've become...