Page 23 From Winter 2012 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved.



Charles M. Brugh (a.k.a. Brew)

Golf as Therapeutic Modality
Is Positive and Meaningful
by Charles M. Brugh (aka Brew)
related:The 2011 Florida Open for Golfers with Disabilities

        Effectively decimated in a life-altering automobile accident on a treacherous corner in Ponte Vedra Beach Florida, severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) necessitates my relearning of all that is human. Kept alive in a Critical Care Unit for two comatose weeks, I’m told physical therapy and neurologic stimulation was initiated while I was still deep in coma. Unbeknownst to anyone (including myself), I would spend over two decades obsessively engaged in varying modalities of spiritual, cognitive and physical labors – pushing personal limits of Faith, drive, talent, intelligence and strengths of character.
        I spent two weeks in a critical care unit, an additional week in an intensive care unit and then transferred to a rehabilitation hospital as an inpatient where I embarked on a demanding six months of physical and cognitive therapies. I was in outpatient therapy for an additional 1½ years. Though I could not really “learn” much of anything (I had severe memory and learning deficits), I made concerted efforts to comprehend the underlying principles of my numerous therapies. Two fundamentals of note garnered during my six months as an inpatient; 1.) Always push yourself beyond your preconceived limits 2.) Never give up! (It is to the one who endures that final victory comes)
        Finally, through much independent study, I determined the only way to successfully rehabilitate was to expose my broken brain to widely diverse and challenging environments. To that end I engaged in multiple adaptive athletics and purposeful outdoor endeavors. The first adaptive sport I attempted was golf. An avid golfer prior to my near-fatal tragedy, I quickly realized the golf swing requires far more mind-body coordination than my severely damaged brain could grasp at this early stage. The fact that the golf swing requires so much mind-body integration is precisely why GOLF is such fantastic therapy for many survivors of brain injury. I also channeled my rehabilitative efforts to other athletic endeavors in which I felt I could have more success. Bear in mind, I was an uncoordinated buffoon at all athletic efforts… at first.
        I never gave up – persevering with the ultimate goal of returning to the sport I am passionate for – GOLF! To date, I have twenty-one (and counting) distinct adaptive sports and purposeful outdoor endeavors under my belt. A sampling of my diverse rehabilitative/athletic backgrounds include: white water rafting trips (multi-day), rock climbing (Breckenridge, Colorado), adaptive water skiing/knee boarding, several multi-day bicycling tours, adaptive surfing, parasailing, adaptive alpine skiing, Murderball (wheelchair rugby) - I was a corporate-sponsored athlete for two years on a traveling quad rugby team (Brooks Bandits - United States Quad Rugby Association, Atlantic South division), adaptive rowing - won gold and silver medals in the 2010 Southern Sprints held in Melbourne Florida and competed in the 2010 World Cup Indoor Rowing Championships in Boston where I missed 6th place by 6/100th of a second - for that weekend my world ranking was seventh (top ten in the world!), which sounds impressive until you learn there were only eleven adaptive athletes (from around the globe) competing in my division.
        These varied rehabilitative activities fall under the broad umbrellas of cognitive and physical fitness, adaptive sport, experiential learning, outdoor education and purposeful recreation. I have used these tools extensively in my rehabilitative repertoire with significant positive result. In fact, to most I appear an individual with only mild physical impairment – farther from the truth they could not be! After many years of focused efforts I have finally returned to the great sport of golf, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!
Like all my other rehabilitative/athletic efforts, I’m not very good – yet. It does not matter to me how long it will take, I will continue to push myself beyond my preconceived limits and I will never give up – period. At this point, how far I can go is a matter of speculation. I will tell you this; I would love to be the first Traumatic Brain Injury survivor to represent America on the Paralympic golf team in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Stranger things have happened.
        The neurological, psychological and physical benefits of golf are precisely why GOLF is a cornerstone of my extended efforts to conquer Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I consider GOLF the equivalent of graduate study in neurologic rehabilitation at a prestigious university – it’s just that good. I implore my fellow survivors of brain injury to pick up a club and smack that little white ball around. From much personal experience, it is with absolute certainty that I tell you: Golf as therapeutic modality is positive and meaningful! Done consistently, as part of an overall therapeutic regime, GOLF will greatly enhance both your rehabilitation and your life.

“The only variable in golf is the person playing it. You are not trying to work on your game; you are working on yourself.” (Geoff Ogilvy)

The 2011 Florida Open for Golfers with Disabilities

Page 23 From Winter 2012 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved.
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