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Why America Is Behind In Wheelchair Golf…

Imagine one day you are playing the game you love as an able-bodied person, and the next day you are unable to do so for the rest of your life. For USGTF member Anthony Netto, in 1994 that scenario became reality. However, instead of accepting that he would never play again, Netto decided to do something about it.

Netto was on his way back from the golf course that fateful day when he was struck head-on by a drunk driver, rendering him a paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down. Eventually, he made his way back to the golf course, but playing from a sitting position he would sometimes strike his knees with the club. He figured there must be a better way for someone in his position to be able to play the game.

He found Otto Bock, a leading manufacturer of wheelchairs and other products for the physically disabled, and came to them with an idea: Let’s make a device that allows paralyzed golfers to assume a normal stance when playing. Thus, the ParaGolfer was born. The ParaGolfer is completely different than other wheelchair devices that allow a paralyzed golfer to play, in that it achieves Netto’s goal of permitting a standing posture. Paralyzed golfers can experience the game virtually as they once did.

The ParaGolfer has been in use in South Africa and in Europe for the past 10 years, but acceptance in the United States has been slow. Unfortunately, many golf course owners are still under the mistaken impression that allowing such devices will harm the turfgrass. In fact, though, the ParaGolfer puts less pressure per square inch on the ground than does a footprint. Not only that, but prohibiting such devices runs contrary to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Getting paralyzed golfers back into the game is critically important, not only for their mental health, but also their physical health. Netto reports that use of the ParaGolfer halts and reverses a whole array of ailments that may plague the paralyzed, including osteoarthritis. Netto’s goal is to see that use of the ParaGolfer becomes widespread around the golf world, including the United States, and wants to get the word out to his fellow golf teachers that they can play a role in promoting it.

The cost of the ParaGolfer is $16,500, and various insurance plans may or may not pay for it, so individuals need to check with their insurance providers.

More information can also be obtained by contacting info@stand-up-and-play.com

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