Following injuries stemming from military combat and a car accident caused by a drunk driver, Anthony Netto found himself wheelchair-bound. Once an avid golfer, his friends urged him to get back into the game with adaptive gear. “Many golf courses think SoloRiders are [enough to be] ADA compliant but they are not truly adaptive for all. In fact, they are completely inadequate for a paraplegic like me because there is not proper belting,” Netto states. “We need to stand up to play and there was nothing on the market to do that that was suitable.” So, the self-proclaimed “stand-up guy” ─ pun intended! ─ developed a solution: the paramobile (also known as the paragolfer), a robust three-wheeled chair designed to tackle rugged terrains and allow individuals with mobility disabilities to safely achieve standing positions. He discovered that the innovative equipment lead to a higher level of independence and self-esteem.
Upping the Adaptive Golf Game
The revolution inspired Netto to launch the Stand Up and Play Foundation, aimed to help wheelchair users stand up to participate in sporting, artistic and other activities, or even just experience the empowerment of looking at one eye to eye. The volunteer-run endeavor presents paramobile recreation events ─ such as golf tournaments ─ to let all stand up and to raise funds to donate chairs to individuals, golf courses fitness centers and hospitals and/or rehabilitation facilities. In 2016 alone, the Stand Up and Play Foundation raised over $1 million. “We’re very proud to say that, last year, the foundation gave 53 chairs and that was through the help of various sponsors [including Carl’s Jr. and Hardees with Stars for Heroes], foundation activities and partnering foundations [like The Independence Fund].”
“The paramobile allows me to enjoy so many of the outdoor activities that I lost. I can play golf again, go to the beach with my grandchildren and use it in many places where I cannot walk. In a sense, it has given me back my legs.” -Anthony Netto