There is no denying stroke survivors have a lot to deal with as they go through the rehabilitation process and learn to live with physical limitations. Unfortunately, far too many people treat having a stroke as a sign they can no longer enjoy physical activities. For stroke survivor’s who love to play golf, those so-called physical limitations aren’t as pronounced as one would imagine.
Playing Golf Again is a Real Possibility
Except in the worst of cases, the only thing that keeps most stroke survivors from getting back onto the golf course is the assumption they can’t do it. That assumption is wrong in so many ways. Will their golf game be as proficient as it was before the stroke? Probably not, but everything in life changes after medical trauma. The reality is golf courses aren’t going anywhere and any golfer who wants to golf belongs on the golf course. That includes stoke victims who love the game.
It only takes three things to make it happen. First, the person affected by the stroke has to believe they can do it. Second, they need to accept certain limitations and learn to play within themselves. Finally, the stroke victim needs to minimize expectations and maximize the joy that comes from being out on a golf course instead of laying in a bed feeling disabled.
The Benefits of Golfing for Stroke Survivors
The benefits of being able to return to the golf course will touch almost every aspect of the stroke survivor’s being. From a physical standpoint, they get the health benefits of fresh air and exercise. Doctor’s often encourage stroke victims to exercise their muscles and get the heart beating again. The walking and swinging of a club help to move all the right muscles and bring balance and coordination back.
As far as mental and emotional issues are concerned, there is nothing that revitalizes the spirit and soul more than overcoming impossible odds to achieve something important. If a golfer loves to golf, then learning to do it again under a different set of circumstances is an accomplishment that should bring a great sense of pride to a disabled golfer. In many cases, depression is actually a bigger threat to one’s well-being than another stroke. By going out there on the golf course and proving they are still a player, the afflicted individual won’t feel so afflicted anymore.
Finally, there is great value is participating in a social activity for a stroke survivor who has been hospitalized and/or confined to the home for a period of time. The chance to get out among friends and golfing buddies serves to make the person feel they are still a part of life here on this planet.
Exercises Designed to Make Golfing Easier for the Stroke Victim
While contemplating that first post-stroke round of golf, there are several exercises that can help reestablish stamina, balance and coordination. Walking is a must. Even cart riders will log distance during a round of golf. By getting out each day for a walk, it will improve endurance on the golf course. For balance and coordination, doctors recommend sitting on a stability ball but for those affected by stroke, a physical therapist should be close by unless one has progressed. By doing this exercise for just a few minutes everyday, one’s balance and ability to control their arms and legs will show marked improvement over time. A more sensible exercise at home would involve use of a chair. While the person affected by the stroke stands in a corner of a room, they hold on the back of the chair and practice moving hips forward and back and from side to side. This is also beneficial for strengthening the weakened side. If the survivor also has dropfoot which many stroke victims experience, a brace recommended by the persons doctor for safety. It can help immensely as even if a cart is used, as the walking can tire out the weakened leg quickly at times.
Making Golf Easier for Stroke Survivors
The golfing world is well-aware that some stroke victims love the game of golf. With that in mind, there are plenty of custom equipment designers who are more than happy to help design golf equipment that compliments a golfer’s disabilities. Another way golf is made easier for stroke victims is the process of making them feel normal. Disabled golfers are often reluctant to play golf with healthy people for fear of slowing the group down. First of all, golf is a game of courtesy and golfers tend to be very patient with those who might not be as skilled as the others in the group. That said, there are many golf courses that sponsor groups that have disabilities. By playing golf with other disabled golfers, the individual doesn’t feel it necessary to perform, only to enjoy the outing.
Golf is a great sport and activity. If you or someone you know has suffered a stroke and would still love to hit the links, by all means make it happen. With reasonable expectations, that first round of golf will feel like a rebirth of sorts, prompting the stroke victim to stop feeling like a victim and more as a winning survivor.
by Leon Edward