During a sunny afternoon this past weekend, Bob Rhodin gained a whole new perspective on his golf swing while on the driving range at the Jacksonville Beach Golf Club.
He joined others from the Brooks Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program for a hands-on demonstration of the newly acquired Paramobile, a para-golfer chair created by Anthony Netto, founder of the Stand Up and Play Foundation.
After years of rehabilitation therapy, the wounded veteran and victim of a drunk driver over 20 years ago, began to lose hope in ever being able to enjoy a game of golf again. As a former professional golfer, this was a huge factor in motivating him to invent a way to get back on the green.
“Sitting around and moaning has never been my thing,” he explained, adding, “I had to take action.”
He reached out to friends and family and in 2001, started the Stand Up and Play Foundation and created the first prototypes of the Paramobile with the company Ottobock.
The first thing he noticed when he used the prototype was his ability to fully breathe again. It changed his life.
“When you see a ball thrown from eye level or hug a loved one in the standing position – there’s nothing like it. It’s an empowering feeling,” he said. “I felt like a man again.”
For more than a decade, Anthony has traveled around to different organizations and groups representing his Foundation and the amazing adaptive equipment they have made available to the disabled community.
Anthony spent the day this past weekend with the Brooks Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program, highlighting the advantages of the Paramobile, including its solid frame, secure footing, speed, and ability to handle gradients and inclines. To show the chairs abilities, Anthony steered the Paramobile with a one-handed joystick up and down the golf course slopes and even into a sand pit. It easily maneuvered the unsteady terrain.
The chair was originally designed to allow disabled golfers the opportunity to swing from a standing position, but can also be used for other sports such as trap shooting and archery.
The Paramobile has therapeutic benefits as well, including; improvement with metabolism, stretching of the muscles, reduces spasticity and helps repair bone density.
Beyond all the medical advantages to the chair, Anthony is quick to point out the most important aspect.
“It’s fun and it’s comfortable,” he said, adding, “It gets you out there again, able to enjoy life.”
The Brooks Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program plans to utilize the new piece of adaptive equipment for monthly golf activities and tournaments as well take it for a trial run for outdoor trap shooting.
Check out all the photos from the Paramobile Golf Clinic on our Flickr page!
To learn more about the Paramobile and the Stand Up and Play Foundation, visit www.stand-up-and-play.com.