Sparrow releases kid rehab golf program

If enthusiasm counted for anything in golf, Olivia Polo would be a shoo-in for the LPGA trip someday.

Never mind that the 8-year-old Holt lady had more misses than hits on Monday initially Tee Sycamore Driving Range, where she and another pediatric rehabilitation patient at Sparrow Hospital worked on their swings with coaches.

"Oh!" a thrilled Olivia yelled after sending an iron shot straight down range a few lots backyards. That was enough to earn her a huge high-five from Coach Alissa McClimans.

Olivia has a genetic heart flaw and had three open-heart surgeries prior to her was three. She suffered a stroke the day after her 4th birthday. Not that any of that was stopping her on Monday.

"They believed she would enjoy this," stated Olivia's mom, Rashae Polo. "She was passionate about it right from the start."

Monday was the first practice of Sparrow's Pediatric Rehab Adaptive Therapy Program for patients who are recuperating from strokes or have cerebral palsy or other serious health conditions. They'll take routine lessons over the summer season prior to getting onto the course for a trip in August. More patients are expected to be active in the program as it gets rolling, Sparrow authorities said.

"We wanted to get them moving, get them out in the neighborhood, get them doing something that more normally normal kids may do," stated Jennifer Deibel, who handles the pediatric rehabilitation device at Sparrow. "We aimed to incorporate a dance class into treatment, and this was the next idea to simply grow that concept and get the kids out into the neighborhood more."

The program is being moneyed by the Sparrow Foundation and a grant from the Capital Area Community Foundation, Deibel said.

First Tee of Mid-Michigan, which operates the driving variety on East Mount Hope Avenue, utilizes golf to help build character and promote healthy options for youths.

Taylor Tew, 12, of Mason, who has cerebral palsy and is not able to use her left hand, was hitting the ball consistently with a smooth, one-handed swing.

When she was really young, medical professionals stated she would never ever have the ability to stroll or talk or reveal any feeling, said her mom, Tammy Huisker. But Taylor has blown right past that diagnosis and now strolls on her own, Huisker said.

"She has one heck of swing with that ideal arm," stated Huisker's hubby, Andy Huisker.