Adaptive wheelchair gives wounded warriors chance to play golf

Green2Green is trying to purchase special wheelchairs for wounded veterans to help them feel normal again. (WRDW-TV / July 22, 2011)

Green2Green is trying to purchase special wheelchairs for wounded veterans to help them feel normal again. (WRDW-TV / July 22, 2011)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday July 22, 2011

EVANS, Ga. -- Most people take the simple use of healthy, working legs for granted, but many wounded warriors come home with injuries that take away the use of one or both legs.

Now, one local group is trying to give those men and women a little hope in the form of a unique wheelchair.

Green2Green is a nonprofit working to bring the game of golf to wounded warriors, and now they're not letting a handicap or injury get in the way.

Specialist Danny McGowan was injured last year in Afghanistan. He's confined to a wheelchair and says playing golf hasn't been much of a priority.

"We were hit by an IED and it damaged my truck. I sustained multiple injuries to my back and to my legs," McGowan said.

But thanks to a special wheelchair, McGowan can hit the greens again.

"It's been a long time for me, and doing it today, it felt great, it really felt great," he said.

In just more than a year, Green2Green has helped more than $2,000 injured soldiers play golf. From amputees to soldiers suffering from PTSD, they try to help them all.

"It's just finally something they can do to feel normal again and that's the biggest thing when they've come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, wherever they've come back from, they haven't had that sense of normalcy yet," said Dean Carrigan, chief development officer for Green2Green. "We've seen progress: The guys have gotten healthier and happier."

Now they're teaming up with Anthony Netto and Stand Up and Play to bring these special chairs to Augusta.

"Basically it stands you up and you can swing using your upper body and move around the golf course without using a golf cart," Carrigan said.

McGowan is excited about it and thinks others will be, too.

"Hopefully, it will be a good thing for a lot of people that are in wheelchairs to say, 'Hey, I can at least do that,'" he said.

Green2Green says it would love to purchase about 10 of these special chairs, which are more than $16,000 each, so they can help more soldiers like McGowan.

"It's showing me that I can perform something again ... standing," he said.

All proceeds from the Vaughn Taylor EZGO Invitational Tournament at Jones Creek will be going to Green2Green. The tournament starts Monday.


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