Many soldiers that return home from Iraq or Afghanistan struggle with mental or physical injuries. A relatively new program in eastern Iowa is using an old game to help rehabilitate those injured veterans.
Professionals from the "Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere" program gave dozens of vets a free lesson at the Blue Top Ridge golf course in Riverside. It seemed to help Bob Briggs. An Iraq war injury paralyzed the left side of his body. "I loved playing before I got hurt and I think I love playing even more now," Briggs said. "Sometimes I think I get better games now when I do it one-handed than I did when I did it with two hands."
Instructor and veteran Jim Dickerson says the lesson focuses as much on life skills as the game of golf. "We’re using golf and the compatibility of the game and the sociability involved with the game to bring veterans together," Dickerson said. Veteran Wen Torrey says many participants suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. "It’s really good therapy. You get treatment for PTSD. You learn coping skills, you can really put into practice on the golf course. You’re going to challenge all of your anger issues," Torrey said.
The program includes a handicapped-accessible golf cart, where the golfer can swing a club right from the chair. Find more information about the program here .