Golfing and outdoor activities with a stoma can be tricky, but with the preparation and care can be very enjoyable. To frame the capabilities and abilities of those with a stoma we look to former PGA Champion Al Geiberger. Prior to his surgery in 1980 Al had won 15 PGA events, it was then that while participating at the Gerald Ford Invitational golf tournament, he had to leave the tournament in order to have an emergency surgery to address a perforated colon resulting in an ostomy. Al feared that his days on the tour were over. During his recovery he was introduced to NFL placekicker Rolf Benirschke. Rolfs story is extraordinary. Rolf was the first professional athlete to wear an ostomy appliance while playing. Early in his career he was struck with ulcerative colitis and nearly died after surgeries in 1979, but then returned the next season to continue his record-setting career for seven more years. After Al and Rolf met, Al decided to return to competitive golf and won an additional 14 times on the PGA and Champion’s tour with top ten finishes throughout.
Those are both very inspirational stories that highlight the fact that an ostomy or illiostony should not stop you from getting out and either continuing to pursue your passion, or trying something new.
Golfing with an Ostomy
Exercise is extremely important both physically and mentally when you have an ostomy. Walking, swinging the club, and fresh air is very healthy.
We also know that there are limitations and that no two patient conditions are the same, however, be aware that because a golf swing requires a lot of torque, playing golf could require adding extra security to your ostomy appliance. The added security should conform to your body, be sweat-proof, and allow for movement. There are belts on the market that help to secure your ostomy appliance, but may not keep the wafer edge affixed to your skin.
Tips, Techniques, and Added Security for Your Ostomy
- Plan your pre-round meal accordingly. Understand your body and how certain foods affect you. Here is some information about different foods from the Mayo Clinic.
- Don’t try and play 18 holes your first time out. Go slow, ride in a cart and play 9 holes to test your strength, flexibility, and abdominal muscles
- Based on your experience choose the support and wafer securement that suites your swing and extent of play.
- Empty your pouch before you get out on the course.
- Ensure your wafer has been on for at least an hour prior to getting wet or beginning any activity that will cause you to perspire.
Some items you may consider bringing:
- Odor eliminator drops
- Hand sanitizing gel
- Ostomy wafers that are trimmed to your specific needs
- Extra ostomy pouch
- Disposable towels
- Waterproof tape or pre-cut strips for bordering the wafer
- Ziplock bag for disposing of items
- Fruit juice or an electrolyte rich drink
- A change of cloths in case of a leak
- Secure Your Ostomy During Golf
Consider using Hy-Tape waterproof tape to secure the boarder of the wafer. Hy-Tape has pre-cut strips in packs of 4 and rolls that are thin and easy to carry when golfing. While Hy-tape is easy to tear, some may have problems trimming tape to size and Hy-Tapes strips are pre-cut making life a little easier. Boarding a wafer is an extra layer of waterproof security and the zinc-oxide adhesive may be soothing to the skin.