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Trace Kea, a golf pro for the Army, loves to hear that kind of sentiment. He recited the staggering suicide statistics a record 24 members of the Army Gucci Belt Aaaa Quality in January alone.

The 28 year old Army infantryman suffered a badly damaged left leg in 2007 when a bomb blew up near his vehicle in Iraq. The injury brought Clark to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where much of his leg was removed, and three months later, he dressed for his first lesson in how to swing a short iron.

Sgt. James Oppelt hits a golf ball with an iron at the Fort Sam Houston Golf Club in San Antonio on Feb. 239. The National Amputee Golf Association's First Swing Clinic came to the driving range at Fort Sam Houston to teach wounded soldiers the game of golf.

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Martocci met a young, eager soldier Monday at the far end of the range. The soldier, a newcomer to golf, could barely operate his right leg because he'd Louis Vuitton Belt For Ladies

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Then Kea watched Clark and a lean former squad leader from Oregon take swings.

The soldier smiled. The small First Swing crowd applauded the tradition for a first airborne shot. "I know we made a golfer down there," Martocci said later. "I know we did."

Wearing a gray Army T shirt and with a sport shoe on his prosthetic leg, Clark slapped a few nicked balls down Gucci Belt White Red

"If they're not doing this, what are they doing? How many times can you watch SportsCenter?" Kea said.

Austin American Statesman photo by Ralph Barrer

While recovering, Wilson saw an article about amputee golf. He said he didn't even know amputee golf was possible. He took it up. He found something to look forward to, and he's been playing since.

"If they get hooked today, they're going to come back," Kea said. "They'll live another day, another week, another month."

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Representatives from the National Amputee Golf Association this year teamed up with the military to introduce service personnel such as Clark to First Swing, a program designed to involve amputees in golf. First Swing representatives visited Fort Sam Houston recently.

The military plans to introduce First Swing at seven installations and eventually train every pro at the Army's 55 golf courses. (AP Photo/Austin American Statesman/Ralph Barrera) NO MAGS, NO SALES, NO TV, INTERNET: AP MEMBER, NEWSPAPERS ONLY

Clark, who had played only a handful of times in his life, tried to explain the difference between playing golf on two feet and playing it on one. "I'm not sure yet," he said. "That's really all the goal is: to relearn how to play."

Roman lost his leg when a bomb burst near his Humvee in Iraq. Now 28 and continuing his therapy at Brooke, he said he never considered what he might no longer be capable of doing.

They began by helping a dozen golf professionals learn to teach golf to players who are missing limbs. They instructed the pros to hit balls with one hand and standing on one leg for perspective. "We were hitting and hopping," said Paul Martocci, a golf pro from Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Austin American Statesman photo by Ralph Barrer

His goal: to introduce golf to soldiers who might Hermes Belts For Sale

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National Amputee Golf Association's First Swing Clinic came to the driving range at Fort Sam Houston Golf Club in San Antonio on Feb. 23 to teach wounded soldiers the game of golf. Golf professional Mark Sanders, left, from Missouri, helps soldier Matt Poirier to get the club around his body in the back swing as he finds it difficult to pivot on his prosthetic leg. In the foreground are the legs of Staff Sgt. Rico Roman, who was injured in Iraq by an bomb during patrol.

think a lost limb is a lost life.

Down the range, Rico Roman, the squad leader from Oregon, braced his weight against his prosthetic left leg. He turned, pivoted and pounded a driver through the wind. The ball rose.

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the practice range at the Fort Sam Houston Golf Club. One shot soared in a high, piercing arc over the 100 yard sign. Another sliced inelegantly into a net.

´╗┐Amputees relearn the lessons of golf

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First Swing was created nearly two decades ago by a former naval officer named Bob Wilson. Working on the flight deck of the USS Kitty Hawk when a jet landed, Wilson lost his legs in 1974 to the cable that connects landing aircraft to the carrier.

"It's moving the body," said Rick Monroe, a regional trustee for the amputee golf organization and a resident of Onion Creek. "Moving the muscles, whatever muscles they have, is worth it."

First Swing representatives say golf is an ideal therapy for amputees. It involves stretching. It involves exercise mental and physical.

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stepped on a grenade.

Seated in a golf cart made for amputee players, he took swing after swing. The soldier dribbled balls along the ground until, at last, he lofted one into the morning chill.

"It's the only thing that kept me alive," Wilson said.

The military plans to introduce First Swing at seven installations, including Fort Sam Houston. Kea said he plans eventually to train every pro at the Army's 55 golf courses.

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