Overton Brooks VA Medical Center
Veterans Take Advantage of Adaptive Golf Clinic
Overton Brooks Veterans spent time on the green, recently. The Transition Care Management (TCM) team, formerly known as the Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom team, arranged an eight-week golf clinic through the popular training facility, David Toms Academy 265.
OBVAMC collaborated with the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Hope program, the Adaptive Golf Association (AGA), and the David Toms Academy offered an adaptive golf program to assist Veterans in their recovery and transition. The purpose of this project is to provide an opportunity for local Veterans to come together, socialize, refine their golf skills, and succeed despite limitations. Eight Veterans are currently investing their time with the adaptive golf experience, working with certified golf instructors to practice swing modification and revitalize their competitive spirit. More clinics will be arranged and allow all Veterans to experience the sport of golfing, especially focused on those who may feel that golf isn’t for them because of a disability.
According to Ryan Jacobsen, TCM program manager, the event allowed Veterans to be with other Veterans and experience the golfing culture. Veterans are heroes, extremely resilient, and can do anything they want to do. The biggest thing the community can do is provide support, encouragement and opportunities.
“A setting on the golf course is always better than an environment inside an exam or meeting room at the hospital”, said Jacobsen. “We want our Veterans to look forward to being involved with the VA, and to know that we care about them personally, and appreciate them for their service”. Golf courses are on almost every military instillation so it’s already a part of our culture, this provides an avenue to spend time socially, share our experiences and have fun doing it.”
The David Toms Academy and PGA fully funded the clinic, and a PGA professional offered teaching tips for handling clubs, standing and arm swing.
“This is great,” said James Schramm, U.S. Army Veteran from 2009-2014. “It is actually relaxing to get out with everyone. It is like a family bond being around other Veterans.”
“Anytime you have the opportunity to engage and give back to our nations Veterans it is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” said Shea Wilkes, License Clinical Social Worker. “Whether the Veteran is being introduced to golf or if the Veteran is working out bad habits in their golf swing, the positive is they are out of the house and engaged with their peers and community.”
The TCM team provides support and assistance to Veterans who served since 2001. The team provides Veterans with a clear understanding of VA health care benefits and options to assist Veterans leaving military service.
“The VA has many programs most people are unaware of”, said Jacobsen. “My team is specifically organized for Veterans who separate after September 11, 2001 and it is our mission to work with more Veterans to enroll in healthcare, navigate this VA system, and use of what they have earned. Regardless of service era, Veterans should get involved with the VA, find out the programs available, and look into any potential benefits.”
“Time after time disabled Veterans stop themselves from participating in activities, such as golf, for fear of exacerbating an injury, their dislike of social interaction, or other reasons,” added Wilkes. “By having an event like this we can break these barriers, place Veterans with their peers, and provide world class learning and training in a safe environment.”
Veterans interested in more information about the TCM team should call 318-990-5012. Veterans whose service was prior to 2001 should call 877-222-8387 to enroll or call their Primary Care clinic for available VA programs they may qualify for.