Daniël Slabbert is no ordinary 21-year-old. He was a veteran of the golf course and a championship-winner before he made it to his twenties. He also happens to be an amputee, but that does not hold back this driven, energetic young man. Thanks to the right prosthetics and the right attitude, he is capable of more than most other men his age.
Daniël was just 14 years old when a trampoline accident caused a severe injury to his leg. Doctors were unable to repair the damage and they had to perform a through-the-knee amputation. After the amputation, the wound to Daniël’s leg took a few months to heal and his rehabilitation started. He was fitted with a prosthetic leg and started his road to recovery. The spirited young man stayed positive, despite this unfortunate accident, and he pressed on, making each day a personal victory.
Before the accident, Daniël was a keen golfer, having inherited his considerable aptitude for the sport from his father. He continued playing after losing his leg, garnering a reputation as a brilliant young golfer as the years passed. He also started playing in several tournaments for the South African Disabled Golf Association.
At one of these tournaments, a spectator noticed that Daniël had difficulty walking comfortably. "I was put in touch with Marco du Plooy, a brilliant prosthetist from Pretoria. I met with him, and I was impressed with the way he built prosthetic limbs," says Daniël. "Marco was very accommodating and attentive in his approach – and he understands that a great prosthetic leg is reliant upon a great foot, knee and socket (the part where the remaining part of the amputated leg fits into the prosthetic leg). However, the most important thing is that the leg fits properly and comfortably. The sockets Marco builds are a cut above the rest and he has been making my legs ever since," Slabbert explains.
Slabbert continues his success as a golfer, while working towards his PGA-diploma. He also currently holds the title of the SA Disabled Golf Champion. He first won the title in 2011 and successfully defended it again this year at the Langebaan Country Estate. The young champ is not planning to slow down at all – he continues to work on his game and has even dropped his handicap to two.
"I am very fortunate to have the best leg prosthetic technology is capable of creating and to have a solid relationship with Marco du Plooy – one of the best prosthetists in the business", says Slabbert. "It just helps me to do my best on the golf course."
Daniël is in his element when playing , just enjoying every moment. He is living proof that a positive attitude and the belief in one’s own talents are no match for adversity. South African’s everywhere look forward to seeing what this brilliant young golfer will accomplish in the future.