Thirty years ago Dean Jarvis of Maryville had his leg amputated above the knee. After a battle with osteosarcoma earlier in his teens, Jarvis was determined he wouldn’t quit playing baseball and basketball despite the steel rod that now ran from his ankle to his hip. After three years of pushing himself, the rod snapped and Jarvis knew it was time for his leg to be amputated. Routine maintenance and basic service on his prosthesis brought Jarvis to Premier Prosthetic Center in Knoxville in Knoxville 4 years ago.
While he enjoyed baseball and basketball immensely, citing his time playing college baseball at Cleveland State Community College under Steve Longley as his most enjoyable sports experience ever, Jarvis was searching for a way to remain in competitive sports when he turned to golf. When he learned golf wouldn’t be included in the 2016 Paralympics, Jarvis set his mind to finding a way to get golf included in the Paralympics. Jarvis created the Amputee Long Drive Championship, which has since expanded to accommodate athletes with numerous other disabilities as The ParaLong Drive Cup.
“Golf and ParaLong Drive are great for rehabilitation and can easily accommodate many different disabilities,” explains Jarvis.
The sport of long drive consists primarily of a large grid, measuring 60 yards wide and about 400 yards long, into which athletes attempt to drive the ball the greatest distance. In contrast to regular golf, where it may take several strokes to cover a 250 yard hole, drives of over 350 yards are not uncommon. ParaLong Drive, though only started in 2013 , is experiencing rapid growth with several events throughout the year and divisions that include athletes with almost any disability from traumatic brain injuries and paralysis to blindness and post traumatic stress disorder.
“I just want to showcase great athletes and show people disabilities don’t determine your ability to be successful,” says Jarvis.
The ParaLong Drive Cup will be held Thursday, July 9, at Tennessee National Golf Club in Loudon. In addition to the long drive competition, the July 9th event will also feature an innovative prosthesis technology and its inventor, Parker Owen of Columbiana, Alabama. Owen designed and built his “Cycle-Leg” using a $25 second hand bicycle. Since building the prototype, Owen has since improved on his design and been granted a provisional patent.
Jarvis is proud of how the event has grown and looks forward to expanding it further in the future. For details about the ParaLong Drive Cup, the featured athletes and how you can get involved, please visit: http://www.amputeelongdrivechampionship.com/