By David McCoy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One in seven Americans has a disability. But whether they have it at birth or it occurs later in life doesn’t mean they have to give up their love of playing sports.

A program right here in the Twin Cities is making sure of that.

Craig Brewster’s mind is still sharp as ever, but he moves a little slower than he used to. Five years ago, the former Army sergeant had a stroke.

“I did die four times, and they brought me back,” he said.

If there’s one thing Brewster wasn’t about to give up, it was golf– his passion.

“I love golf. I’ve been playing since I was 16 years old,” he said.

So after his stroke, this place was a lifesaver. Every Monday and Thursday, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute holds an adaptive golf program at Eagle Lake Golf Course in Plymouth.

The ages range from 10 to 70. Many, like Brewster, are stroke survivors.

“If you cannot grip a club in the way that we think they can, then really it’s a little bit of a challenge but with a little Velcro– even a little duct tape sometimes– it works. For us, that’s what adaptive recreation is all about,” Program Coordinator Junior Mamea said. “It may not be the same way they used to golf, but it’s a new way to golf. It’s a new normal.”

“Everybody is so helpful,” Brewster said. “And the people that run this program are just wonderful people, and I’m so thankful that they have it for us and it’s so helpful to giving recovery from my stroke. Each year I get a little bit more better.”

For Brewster, the physical health benefits have been amazing.

“It’s really helped with my hands and everything,” he said.

But the mental health benefits also give him the ability to do things he loves, even after a disability.

“Freedom is what it’s all about,” Brewster said. “Being outside with good friends.”

 

David McCoy

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