Injured Iraq Vet Can Play Golf Again: 'It's An Incredible Feeling'

Thursday December 4th, 2014
U.S. Army Ret. Sgt. Rick Yarosh tries out his custom-made club.
Richard Howlett/Syracuse.com

A golf-loving, wounded Iraq veteran is able to get back onto the course this week, thanks to two State University of New York Polytechnic Institute students and their specially designed golf club.

U.S. Army Ret. Sgt. Rick Yarosh, 32, thought he would never be able to play a sport he loved, and was quite good at, after he was injured by an IED while serving in Iraq in 2006. He suffered burns over 60 percent of his body and has undergone more than 100 procedures and 50 surgeries. As a result, he lost his nose, ears, leg, pinkies and parts of other fingers.

In a story on Syracuse.com, Yarosh said that he “lost a piece of his life” when he was no longer able to wrestle, play football, or play golf.

But after almost a year of meeting with Yarosh and working on different designs for their revolutionary golf club, SUNY students Nicholas Arbour and Adam Peters finally found one that worked. They studied professional golf swings and made several prototypes with a 3D printer before they chose the winning design. The modified club is a wrist guard attached to the forearm; two pistons that attach to a pair of clamps, attached to the club; and a handle for swing control.

“I’m so happy,” Yarosh told Syracuse.com. “I tried the club and I could hit the ball with quite a distance. Now I can go out with my friends again and play golf. It’s an incredible feeling.”

Arbour, a member of the Air Force ROTC at Syracuse University, and Peters presented the club to Yarosh in a ceremony at the Sitrin Medical Rehabilitation Center in New Hartford, N.Y., where Yarosh works with the military rehab program.

And in case you’re wondering, the students got an A.

You can watch the video of Yarosh testing his club here.

This article was originally posted on Oct. 30, 2014.

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