Life can sometimes throw us some curveballs, unexpected challenges that test the limits of our strength and determination.
For Anthony Roberts, a passionate sportsman, a freak accident forever altered the course of his life, however, amidst the trials and tribulations, Anthony has found solace and a renewed sense of wellbeing on the golf course.
The accident that changed Anthony's life occurred at his workplace. A stool he was sitting on broke, leading to a devastating fall. His head struck the wall leaving him unconscious and injured. Besides the immediate visible injury of broken metal from the stool lodged in his lower back, Anthony had also suffered a severe concussion.
The aftermath of the accident has been an arduous journey for Anthony. In the years that followed, he was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), which affects the proper functioning of his nervous system. He experiences a range of symptoms, including burning nerve pain in his right hand, vision problems, insomnia, and muscle pain, along with compressed vertebrae and a herniated disc caused by the broken stool.
Now the golf course offers Anthony a refuge from the stresses of life, providing a calming effect on his nervous system. In his words,
I am happy and excited to be on the golf course; it reduces the 'fight or flight mode,' which is my body's normal setting post-brain injury.
Anthony had started playing before his accident when he was in his early 30s. Fuelled by an admiration for legendary golfer Nick Faldo, he acquired a set of bladed irons and began to teach himself. Anthony jokes, of how he is used to overcoming obstacles, learning to play with a set of blades and being self-taught set an early precedent.
Navigating life with FND has not been easy for Anthony, and he admits that playing golf can be physically demanding with his condition. His balance and ability to swing the club are affected, but he refuses to let his circumstances define him. Instead, he sees golf as more than just a sport; it is a source of wellbeing and solace in the face of adversity.
Playing alongside other golfers with a disability has been a transformative experience for Anthony. Participating in tournaments and forging meaningful friendships with fellow players who have also overcome adversity reminds him of the strength of the human spirit. It offers a powerful perspective that helps him appreciate the journey of recovery and the joy of newfound friendships.
Despite the challenges, Anthony's love for golf intensified and eight years after his accident he achieved a momentous victory winning the UK Golf Trust's Disability Open held at The Shire London on 24 July 2023. This victory has become a symbol of his resilience and determination to overcome the hurdles life has thrown his way.
Throughout his recovery, Anthony found unwavering support from Headway Sussex, a charity that helps people with brain injuries rebuild their lives. Their guidance and assistance in his rehabilitation were instrumental in Anthony's progress and Anthony acknowledges that he wouldn't be where he is today without their help. He hopes that more people become aware of their work and supports them in any way they can.
Together with team members who play on the European Disability Golf Association tour, Anthony is participating in Headway UK's charity golf day at The Mere on the 14th of September. He aims to raise funds for the charity and spread awareness about the invaluable work they do for individuals recovering from brain injuries.
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