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Clinic helps stroke survivors find their golf swing | Community Spirit

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Clinic helps stroke survivors find their golf swing
Clinic helps stroke survivors find their golf swing

A swift swing and the satisfying thunk as a golf club hits the ball is something that lovers of the game struggle to find following a stroke. On Thursday morning, stroke survivors worked with a PGA Golf Pro at The Highlands Golf Course to adjust their swing and get back on the course.


According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is a leading cause of long term disability among adults in the U.S. It's a statistic that Executive Director Heidi Hershly knows all too well as a stroke survivor.


“Life is not ever the same for you again,” said Hershly. “Sometimes you have to tweak things to get back to life. We just have to adjust and adapt.”


On Thursday the American Stroke Association partnered with St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute for Saving Strokes, a golf clinic aimed at helping stroke victims get back on the green and back into life. The Highlands donated the use of their course and PGA Golf Pro Mark Poirier gave the group individual instruction on how to adjust their swing for the change in their abilities.


“We are the things that we do,” said Barb Stuebing, a Recreation Therapist at St. Luke's. “It brings them back to who they are.”


Stuebing said that an important part of therapy is getting patients back in the groove of their hobbies and social circles. She added that it can be intimidating for patients to participate in something that they used to be good at, and that the feeling of starting over can cause isolation. Learning how to change their grip or stance to take a swing again helps both physically and mentally.


“I'm disappointed that the stroke happened,” said Bob Hedequist. His stroke last September paralyzed his right side, but after three weeks at St. Luke's he regained his mobility. Today, he's happy and thankful to to be walking, talking and back on the golf course with his wife Sue.


“I golfed quite a bit before,” said Hedequist describing his first swing back as clumsy. “My big problem now is balance.”


While Hedequist insists that Sue has been an excellent coach these last months, he was excited to meet with the Golf Pro. They widened his stance to help with his balance while he regains strength.


“Each time gets a little bit better,” said Hedequist.


Stroke survivor Kathy Callum can testify to the importance of returning to hobbies that you enjoyed before a stroke. After her stroke two years she participated in music and gardening therapy, both things she loved before the stroke. As a saxophone player she knew that her muscles knew how to make the motions even if her brain couldn't keep up.


“I could practice until I got it right,” said Callum. Today she was on the golf course learning how to play for the first time. It's something that she encourages all survivors to do.


“Try to do things that you enjoyed before, and try to do new things,” said Callum.


To learn more about stroke treatment and prevention click HERE.  

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