David Youens: inspiring more disabled golfers

David Youens

David Youens, 53, from Oxfordshire has played professional rugby and golf, enjoying the competitive nature of top-level of sport.

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005, David struggled with his health, becoming reliant on a wheelchair to support daily activity for a year.

During this time David also sought grief counselling to help come to terms with a life-changing condition and the realisation that he would not be able to play elite sport again. During bouts of poor health David was also unable to work for long periods, eventually becoming homeless for a short time.

David tried his hand at several different disability sports in an effort to try and rediscover the competitive edge he enjoyed in sport earlier in his life. After stints playing wheelchair tennis, basketball and rowing, David tried out for the Paralympics GB shooting team in 2012, ultimately just missing out on selection.

In 2015, after 10 years away from the game, David was encouraged to get back into golf by his family. Despite initially finding it difficult not to be able to play to the same standard as earlier in his life, David quickly picked up where he had left off before his illness. He has regained his form and is aiming to get his handicap into single figures.

David said; “I have always taken my sport very seriously, so learning about my diagnosis was a massive shock to the system. It took a long time for me to be confident in my health and ability to get back out on the golf course.”

“I’m really pleased that I have got back involved in the game. Although I’m not playing to the same level as before, I’m enjoying my golf and my handicap is improving all the time. I can play with family and friends and have really competitive games again.”

“It is so important that people with conditions like mine can stay involved in active, and golf is a brilliant way to do that. You can go out and play sport at your own pace without it being to physically demanding if you aren’t feeling well.”

Dr David Schley from the MS Society said: “MS is an unpredictable condition but research suggests that exercise can help manage symptoms, such as fatigue, as well as improve the overall health of people with MS. It’s really important to find an exercise that works for you and you’re more likely to stick with it if it’s something you enjoy and find worthwhile. There’s plenty of information and support out there on exercising with MS, including on the MS Society’s website.”

Visit www.getintogolf.org to find out about beginner courses, taster lessons and special events at clubs and ranges nationwide.

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