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Disabled Golf: Rehab And Fitness
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Disabled Golf: Rehab And Fitness

Playing golf with a disability is not difficult if you are in shape and have some degree of mobility. Even more than an able bodied person an individual with a disability must do some physical training before attempting any sport. This article will show you how I was able to get back into shape and playing golf with my disability (amputated left leg above the knee).

Keep in mind that this is not medical advice and I am not a physical therapist. I advise any one with a disability to consult their physician or physical therapist before starting any training program. Be sure you are in sound medical condition.

My rehab started after my first three surgeries and continued for the next 16 months between three more surgeries that ended with the amputation of my left leg above the knee. Rehab started with stretching exercises. Since I was in a wheel chair or on crutches for most of 18 months the stretching included my whole body not just my residual limb. The program my PT and I worked on started with leg lifts, arching my back while laying flat , half crunches, and other exercises using rubber band straps. This regime started with me only being able to do 3-5 reps of each exercise and was done two or three times a day. I was able to make painful progress until I was working out for 30 to 40 minutes a day for several weeks before I received my prosthetic leg.

Please understand that rehab is NOT easy. Your body has undergone a terrible shock. An amputation or other disability causes potential problems with most of the rest of your body. Rehab involves the whole body not just the residual limb. It is also a tremendous shock to you mentally. You question who you are now, your self image can be crushed and you worry about what others think of you. This is not an easy process but the physical rehab will help with the mental rehab. As you gain strength and become more independent, your mental image of yourself gets better. Just as you need a trainer for your body you may need a trainer for your mind.

After receiving the prosthetic leg rehab got a lot more intense. With a passion for the game, I wanted to get back to playing golf with my disability as quickly as possible. The PT started with learning to walk again and gaining strength in the sound limb as well as the residual limb. The way to accomplish this is to start using the prosthesis. Walk whenever and wherever you can or start using your prosthetic arm or hand as much as possible.

Simple as it sounds this can be difficult for you and those around you. Your family and friends are probably in the habit of helping you with many things you haven’t been able to do. You need to start becoming independent of them. Explain to them that you need to do things for yourself and ask for their patience as you relearn how to do every day tasks.

Your exercise regime should be worked out with your doctor or PT but make sure you explain that you want to push yourself to get back to ”normal” as soon as possible. Let them know you plan on playing golf with your disability. After receiving my prosthesis my initial work out consisted of 20 minutes of stretching and flexibility exercises twice a day and then 10 to 15 minutes of walking once a day. This and helping with household chores, shopping trips, and other daily activities got me to the point where I could start going to the gym three times a week for an hour long stretching and weight training program with a trainer. This process can take six to nine months to get you back to “normal”. Keep in mind that you have to push your limits on a daily basis to accomplish this. You will need the help and support of those around you to help keep you on track

During your rehab tell your PT or trainer that you want to play golf with your disability and tailor your training with that goal in mind. As you gain strength and flexibility start going to the driving range and hit some balls. I started playing golf with my amputation by chipping and putting, then started hitting short irons. Always start by stretching for five to ten minutes before you hit balls. as you gain confidence start playing nine holes at a time then try a full 18 holes.

Every course I have played has allowed disabled golfers some leeway in the use of a cart and access to greens and tee boxes. Ask them for their guide lines for disabled golfers and ask for a handicap placard of flag for your cart. Follow their guidelines and enjoy your round.

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