Patient playing golf

Jun 14, 2021 / General News

Empowering Patients Through Adaptive Sports

At Scottish Rite for Children, we believe all children should move freely. For some, that means using an assistive device like a walker. For others, that means wearing a prosthetic limb or using a custom wheelchair. No matter how a child accomplishes mobility, each one deserves the chance to benefit from physical activity offered in recreational and organized sports.

In our 100-year history, we have established a solid reputation for helping our patients long after they stop needing to wear brace or recover from a complex surgery. We have programs in and outside our buildings to promote relationships with individuals with similar conditions, introduce new sports and help children accomplish goals they once thought impossible. 

Through experiences including an annual ski trip for amputees, summer camps, Summer All-Stars (2021 Tennis Registration) and programs with generous support from individuals and organizations, we have the opportunity to offer Scottish Rite patients life-changing experiences.

Learn to Golf
Director of Therapeutic Recreation Dana Dempsey, CTRS, says, “Golf is an individual and team sport that can be adapted in so many ways.” Scottish Rite’s Learn to Golf program invites patients of all abilities to attend a training session at a local golf course with a pro golfer, as well as access to other opportunities. 

Learn to Golf as a Model Program
The success of Scottish Rite’s Learn to Golf program has garnered attention from other inclusion enthusiasts including professional golfers, parks and recreation experts and executives of the PGA Jr. League program for PGA of America.

A National Alliance for Accessible Golf work group met for a “think tank session” in 2019 at Scottish Rite’s Frisco campus. The group committed to a variety of steps to make golf more accessible for children with adaptive needs. Of these, Scottish Rite was particularly excited about offering our patients an opportunity to form a new PGA Jr. League team.

Inaugural PGA Jr. League team of Scottish Rite for Children Patients
In May 2021, 15 Patients signed up with Chuck Higgins, PGA, Vince Bove, PGA, Rich Richeson, PGA, and Laura Frick, PGA, all from the PGA of America on the Frisco campus to tee off this new team. Vice President of North Campus Jeremy Howell is excited about this partnership. “With the PGA of America headquarters opening soon in Frisco, we look forward to strengthening our relationship with them,” says Howell “Having a Scottish Rite PGA Jr. League team moves us one step closer to our ultimate goal of inclusion which would have Scottish Rite patients playing as a part of other PGA Jr. League teams on a regular basis.”

“Coaching the Scottish Rite PGA Jr. League team was such a joy and a wonderful reminder of why I love what I do,” said Higgins. “We took a campus athletic field and transformed it into a golf course where the kids could display their amazing spirit to enjoy sports. The smiles were endless, and they are all excited to continue their involvement with golf. Thank you to Dana Dempsey and the entire Scottish Rite team for welcoming us and helping us create this program. We can’t wait to see it continue to grow.”

This program has introduced many of our patients to a new activity, new people and a new way of thinking about their disability. Using adaptive equipment, one-on-one coaching and peer support, children learn new sport-specific skills and build self-confidence. 

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