Jordan Thomas Foundation

Jordan Thomas Doesn’t Believe In Accidents Or Coincidences

At the age of 16, Jordan Thomas lost both of his legs below the knee in a boating accident. Today, he is referenced as the best adaptive golfer on the planet with a physical disability. 

While recovering in the hospital in 2005, and facing his own future, Jordan discovered that kids outgrow prosthetics every year to 18 months and that not all insurance companies cover the costs. He says insurance never pays for activity limbs. "Parents have to pay out-of-pocket for their child to be able to run. The more I learned about how insurance companies deflect responsibility to pay for covering prosthetics that are fundamental to a child’s development, the more I was outraged.” That’s when he formed the Jordan Thomas Foundation. 

“The way to sustain the work is with passion. My purpose for being on this planet is to provide prosthetics for kids. I pursue it like hell every day," he assures. 

Jordan says he finds that golf provides the opportunity to share the work of the foundation. “It’s a big part of my life and an element of who I am,” he adds. “I play golf at a very, very, very high level. That was shown in the US Adaptive Open. But I don’t play to compete, I play because of the relationships. It gives me the opportunity to be around people I care about and offers a message of inspiration and hope.”

Jordan is focused on growing the game of golf to make it more inclusive and diverse. “There are a lot of barriers to golf if you’re a person with a disability. Being able to encourage, motivate, and inspire people is a big joy.”

He’s also passionate about mental health awareness and the struggles that aren’t apparent on the surface. 

“People will see that I’m a CNN Hero, or in People magazine, or that I was on the Golf Channel or in Golf Digest. It’s often portrayed as a heroic endeavor. Some bits are, but that doesn’t tell the whole story of the depression and anxiety and the fear and the shame and the guilt. The work to learn how to walk again was a lot easier than the work of trying to heal the wounds that weren’t visible. It’s very easy for people to otherize, like I must have been born with something that was different, but no. I just had to embrace the work. The physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, all the work. That is the only way I've gotten to where I am today. I dove in.”

When asked how that part of his journey started, Jordan says, “I attempted it early on. My parents made help available to me. I wasn’t ready when I was 16, 17, 18 years old. What I found was alcohol. That was really effective for a number of years, and then it was really ineffective. For a while, it helped with pain and body shame. I was an able-bodied kid at 16 and all of a sudden I lost my legs and my first thought was ‘what will girls think?’ I had to contend with all of that stuff. I had to get sober from alcohol because I was self-medicating my feelings. I had to be willing to look at the pain, grief and trauma. It was the only way I was able to integrate that loss into my life. 

“I don’t believe in accidents or coincidences anymore. That journey was required to get me where I am today. Now I’m in a place where I feel more fulfilled, more enriched, more empowered, and more connected with the community that supports me than I’ve ever felt before. I don't think that you could find a single person on the street who doesn’t have a family member or someone they know very closely who either deals with depression and anxiety or substance abuse. There's still a taboo around it. Sharing requires people to have the courage to be vulnerable and real. That takes the power away from it and erases the shame. We’ve got to start talking about it and sharing authentically and vulnerably, or what’s the point?”

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