Killeen: Two Paragolfers donated to Courses at Clear Creek

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Kevin McJunkin was told he'd never walk again, and that he'd be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

"That's not going to happen," said McJunkin. "I'll get the strength back."

The 60-year-old was an avid golfer prior to becoming partially paralyzed in 2009. After undergoing successful surgery to repair his aortic dissection, a ruptured spleen reduced blood flow to his heart, which resulted in paralysis.

For a decade, golf wasn't an option -- until he learned about Paragolfer, a wheeled piece of equipment that supports a standing posture.

Paragolfer's inventor, Anthony Netto, created it as a way to help paraplegic veterans get back into golf. Two Paragolfers were donated to the Courses at Clear Creek Friday for future public use.

"To stand up again and be able to golf, using this technology, is insane. It blows my mind, and I'm an engineer," said JP Lane, a U.S. Army veteran who lost both legs after an IED explosion.

A Paragolfer is usually donated to wounded veterans. Since McJunkin isn't a veteran, he was able to raise enough money with the help from his friends and family to purchase his own.

"The first time I went on the golf course, I came back and I told my wife, 'For eight years I have been paralyzed, this is the first time I feel normal,'" McJunkin said. "I was out on that golf course and I was doing the same thing as everyone else -- I could drive (and) I could putt. I was normal again."

Hitting a ball from the tee box or fairway isn't an issue, but since golf carts aren't allowed on putting greens, wouldn't a Paragolfer be an issue there?

"This has 50% less pressure per square inch than anybody walking because of the way the tires have been designed," Netto said. "Don't worry about them. Pick up your feet out there, guys. You leave the spike marks, and we don't!"