RIVERSIDE, IA (KCRG-TV9)-- The National Disabled Veterans TEE Tournament is taking place again this week on golf courses in the Iowa City and Riverside area. The event is in its 25th year.
It’s more than just a tournament. It helps keep veterans with some type of disability active. That can include physical and emotional benefits.
Judith Ruiz served in the Marines. She decided to take a swing at golf as part of her therapy.
She explains, "I have multiple sclerosis, and so for me it's changing. Most of it for me fortunately with the game of golf I've been able to get stronger as I go. So I started playing golf one handed from the wheel chair." Equipped with braces on both of her legs, Ruiz can now play standing up.
She says, "Golf not only works my legs, but it works my arms, my upper body strength, my legs, it works every bone in my body, every muscle in my body."
Each veteran getting one on one lessons from golf pros. They also have devices for people who aren’t able to hit a golf ball on their own. Navy Veteran Ricky Facen used a device called “EZeeGolf,” that can tee off for him.
He says of playing adaptive sports, “I like to do things like that, because it takes my mind off my disability and I feel people don't look at my disability when I do that."
The goal is to get the vets active. Director for the National Disabled Veterans Tee Tournament Kirt Sickels says, "It's their mental health, you know it's their physical health, it deteriorates and if we can't do that, inspire them to do that (exercise), then we have issues."
The event will go until September 14th. There’s also adaptive lessons in cycling, fishing, bowling, kayaking, scuba diving, disc golf, marksmanship and rock wall climbing. Click here for information on how to help out in the future.