Anthony Netto Wants Physically Challenged San Diegans to Stand Up and Play!

anthony netto, socal rehab golf tournament, alvarado hospital

We all wonder how we'd react in the face of adversity. Anthony Netto knows. He became paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the Gulf War as part of Special Forces. Later, as a professional golfer with a promising career, he was hit by a drunk driver in 1994 on his way to a major South African Golf Tournament, which left him with limited use of his hands.

In 2001, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Netto, 48, is not one to sit around feeling sorry for himself. After completing months of grueling rehabilitation, he found that his favorite sport was challenging for someone in a wheelchair, even with adaptive golf technology. He decided create his own wheelchair – called Paramobile – that not only allows him to golf, but also hunt and play archery, fish, skeet shoot, play softball and many other sports in an upright position. Elevating the user to eye level, the Paramobile can turn on a dime and maneuver hills without tipping over. Thanks to this piece of equipment, Netto said that wheelchair users are discovering a "new and unimagined level of freedom and independence. Being able to stand up boosts self-esteem – in addition has a therapeutic effect. It promotes circulation and digestion, stretches tendons and ligaments, reduces spasticity and prevents joints seizing up. It can also help to prevent pressure sores and relieve pressure and expands the lungs."

Netto is the best example of the chair's therapeutic benefits. His hand movements, core strength and muscle co-ordination have returned miraculously by being to be active with the Paramobile. Traveling across the U.S. in his fifth-wheel trailer, he recently relocated to San Diego to take advantage of the city's year-round golfing weather, as well as work with the San Diego rehabilitation programs.

In fact, on Sept. 21, he taught a golf clinic to participants of the 9th Annual SoCal Rehab Golf Tournament at Riverwalk Golf Club in Fashion Valley – the only tournament of its kind in San Diego. Surrounded by curious wounded warriors with missing limbs, survivors of stroke and traumatic brain injury and others with impairments, Netto demonstrated his Paramobile, and he let participants try it out.

Recognizing there is always room for improvement, Netto is looking at ways to enhance the Paramobile, as well as working across many fronts to convince American insurance companies to cover the costs of the chair for qualifying patients.

His biggest passion, however, is helping children. His goal is to get disabled and chronically ill kids active and moving through sports.

His foundation is called The Stand Up and Play Foundation, which was formed to help people with impaired mobility have the opportunity to stand up and participate in sporting, artistic and other daily events. See the Paramobile.

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