News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, April 4, 2011
AUGUSTA---From the waist up, he looks like a normal PGA professional, but Don Vickery isn't that.
"I'm an AK/BK. That means I'm missing right leg below my knee--my left leg above my knee," he told News 12.
In 1989, he and his dog went on a walk he'd never forget. Vickery stepped on a mine on Fort Gordon property. His legs were lost in the explosion, and his life had changed forever.
"You have to look at it differently and you have to believe in yourself and you have to believe that you can do what it takes to get through that," Vickery said.
He did just that. He learned to walk again, but this time it was a bit different.
"To me, it feels like my upper body is carrying my lower body instead of my lower body carrying my upper body," he said.
Roy Rice of Augusta Orthotics and Prosthetics gave Vickery the ability to walk again with two new prosthetic legs, but perhaps an even greater gift, Rice gave a depressed Vickery a new love.
"He had never played golf before," Rice said "Fortunately, I had just bought myself a new set of golf clubs. Don was kind of depressed, so I just gave him my old set."
"I told Roy, I said, I'm not sure that I'll be able to do it Roy. I'm afraid that, you know, I'll slow the course down or I'll be in the way," Vickery recalled.
Nevertheless, Vickery embraced it.
"And it probably wasn't a week later, he come in there, and he was going to the driving range and practicing. He said hey I think I can do this, and he just continuously got better," Rice said.
He become so good, in fact, that he's now a certified PGA professional.
"People walk in where I'm at and they say, 'Hey, Pro!' You have no idea what that feels like for them to say, 'Hey, Pro.' So, it really has changed my life," Vickery told News 12.
He says others can follow in his footsteps, and he offers some advice.
"There's an old saying that if your mind doesn't mind then your body doesn't matter," Vickery said.