Paralympic Hero Joins Amputee Golfers at 18th JFK Johnson/Howard Taylor Memorial Amputee Classic
EDISON, New Jersey — Golfers with amputations, including a 19-year-old Paralympic gold medal winner, hit the links in Monroe Township to compete with each other and to bond over their shared experiences.
“It’s a fun day. Everyone is out here showing what they can do on the course,” said Jack Wallace, of Franklin Lakes. Wallace won gold with the USA Sled Hockey team in the 2018 Paralympic Games in PyeongChang. Sports Illustrated called him a hero of the games.
Now, Wallace, a student at The College of New Jersey, said he’s excited to take on the new challenge of golf.
“I’ll keep working to get better,” he said.
Like every other amputee golfer on the Rossmoor Golf Course Monday, Wallace has a story to tell. He lost his leg above the knee in a boating accident at the age of 10 and was treated at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison.
JFK Johnson has been a sponsor of the Eastern Amputee Golf Association event for 19 years and many of the golfers are patients of the JFK Johnson Prosthetics and Orthotics program, under the direction of Heikki Uustal, MD.
“This event shows the lifetime benefits of rehabilitation, and the value of restoring patients’ health so they can enjoy these recreational activities,” Dr. Uustal said while on the golf course. “We’re all here together as a community — those with and without limb loss.”
Many of the golfers with prostheses, including Josh Dvorin of Scotch Plains, played a highly skilled game. Dvorin had an amputation in 2000 related to an infection following a cancer diagnosis. Several of his friends joined him on the course.
“I love competing with other players who have the same disability as me, and I love getting out on the golf course with friends,” he said.
Jay Hutchinson of Keasbey, 38, was injured when he hit the boards during a roller hockey game. After years of unsuccessful interventions to save his leg, he had the amputation.
“It’s allowed me to get on with my life,” he said. “To be here, with other people who really know what you are going through, is really great.”
The sponsorship of the golf outing, as well as a golf clinic, is part of Dr. Uustal’s mission to treat prosthetic and orthotic patients beyond their medical care. JFK Johnson provides early post-surgical care and ongoing care for those with upper and lower limb amputation.
“We provide the technology, the medical care, the rehabilitation and also provide a community of support,” Dr. Uustal said.
Nationally Recognized Comprehensive Rehabilitation Care
Since 1974, JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute has developed programs in such specialties as stroke rehabilitation, orthopedic programs, fitness, cardiac rehabilitation, women’s health, pediatrics and brain injury rehabilitation. In addition to providing inpatient adult rehabilitation services, the institute treats thousands of children and adults each year on an outpatient and short-term basis. Outpatient rehabilitation programs are provided in Edison and our facilities in Metuchen and Monroe. We also provide a variety of consulting, treatment, education, and advocacy for local companies, professionals and schools.
Our continuum of care assures patients of an integrated, personalized program that facilitates the recovery process and encourages family participation.
JFK Johnson offers 94 inpatient beds in a separately licensed hospital that is attached to JFK Medical Center. Together, they comprise JFK Medical Center, a private, not-for-profit community hospital. The JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute is accredited by the Joint Commission. The facility is also accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities in the areas of Comprehensive Integrated Inpatient Rehabilitation (Adult) and Employment Services: Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation Services. JFK Johnson is also licensed by the state of New Jersey as a Comprehensive Rehabilitation Hospital.
For additional information about our inpatient services please call (732) 321-7733, for outpatient adult and pediatric rehabilitation programs, call (732) 321-7790.