1st ever Amputee Golf Clinic

September 17, 2008 3:59:40 PM PDT
It was the Philadelphia VA Medical Center's first Amputee Golf Clinic. 30 golfers turned out at the Indian spring Country Club, for the event and it was an impressive show of golfing talent and camaraderie.

Tristen Wyatt lost his leg in a rocket attack in Faluja, during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003.

He never imagined he'd take up golf.

John O'Brien, a harrier pilot, for the U.S. Marine Corp., lost a leg and an arm in a training accident in 1993, but it doesn't stop him from hitting a golf ball about 160 yards.

O'Brien loves what the sport has brought to his fellow Vets.

"This is something that makes them feel good...it gives them confidence in their ability, and it makes them focus on their abilities, more than their disability," O'Brien said.

Chris Nowak is Chief of Prosthetics for ten VA Medical Centers in the Delaware Valley and Northeastern U.S.

His goal in organizing today's outing was to, "Introduce them to the game of golf, and get them to a rehabilitative state doing a different event they haven't tried before," Nowak said.

PGA teaching pro, Lou Namm, didn't hesitate to help out.

"It's exercise, they use muscles, they get out in the fresh air, & they have fun," Namm said.

Lou lost both of his legs in Vietnam in 1969 and didn't start golfing until 20 years later. It's spending time with his fellow vets, he loves most.

Today's amputee golf clinic was a first, but Chris Nowak plans to make it an annual event.

Next year he says he hopes to get some women out on the driving range.

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