Improving Quality of Life for Veterans, Disabled Golf as Therapy -BYLN- by Nadia Malik Nmalik@dailyherald.Com

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 21, 2009 | Go to article overview

Improving Quality of Life for Veterans, Disabled Golf as Therapy -BYLN- by Nadia Malik Nmalik@dailyherald.Com


After several practice swings, Nolan Jackson is on a roll. With the help of a therapist, the Korean War veteran is able to hit a golf ball to the back of the Buffalo Grove golf dome.

Jackson arrived at the dome from the North Chicago VA Medical Center in a wheelchair, but heAEs able to stand with a club while Susanne Brunner assists with his balance.

All around him, golf professionals and amateurs are swinging away, practicing for warmer days when they can play outdoors. But Jackson and three other veterans are playing the sport as part of a unique therapy program.

The session is just one of the many that recreational therapist Donna Strum and golf professional Kathy Williams coordinate for their nonprofit company Revelation Golf, based in Elk Grove Village.

Besides programs for veterans, Revelation Golf also provides outlets for breast cancer survivors, adults and children with disabilities, and at-risk youth.

Strum and Williams are everywhere: They have a golf program with the Palatine Opportunity Center and with a youth group in Batavia. They use the White Pines Golf Course in Bensenville and Links & Tees in Addison heavily to service the veterans at North Chicago and Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Maywood. And theyAEve been working with teenagers who are going through the drug and alcohol dependency program at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.

"Our goal is to use golf as a therapeutic tool to increase the quality of life," Strum said.

Each person in the program is paired with both a golf specialist and a therapist. The therapists determine what their bodies can handle and the specialists modify the golf techniques u from choosing a lighter club to finding just the right gloves u to make them work for each

individual.

The medical problems can range from people with hip replacements to soldiers returning from war who have brain damage. Many of the modifications include finding a way for people to play from wheelchairs.

For the veterans group at the Buffalo Grove golf dome, the day starts out with stretching while holding a golf club. Some begin hitting with shorter clubs so that their balance isnAEt thrown off. …

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