The One-Armed Hoodie

The One-Armed Hoodie

August 19, 2022

Matt and I didn’t know much about injured golfers before starting MR. MA in 2021. We were of course familiar with organizations like Wounded Warriors, and Matt’s work with Homes For Our Troops illuminated the challenge that veterans faced with their houses. But when we started getting to know amputee golfers we had the same questions everyone else has - how do you swing like that, does it hurt, does it get sweaty, do people stare at you, what’s the difference between “below the knee” and “above the knee,” and of course: does the traditional, able-bodied apparel work just fine with your injury?

That last question turned into a text to MR. MA Pro Staffer Nick Kimmel. You see, Nick stepped on a 40-lb IED in Afghanistan in 2011, about three years after volunteering for the U.S. Marine Corps. Dozens of surgeries later the only limb that remained was his right arm - hence his very self-aware Instagram handle (@1limbleft). If you haven’t seen a dude with only a right arm hit a golf ball, please google Nick Kimmel and check it out. Anyway, I asked Nick, “Would it help you if you had a golf polo with one of the sleeves missing?” I was asking this both from a practical/technical standpoint. But I also wondered if the “dangling sleeve” look was a source of pride or shame (spoiler alert: pride). Nick didn’t need a one-armed golf polo, but a simple “….a hoodie would be dope” text became a mission for MR. MA.

I immediately called friends-of-the-program Teddy Lynn and Mark Himmelsbach, who are supporters of injured, vet golfers and also very well-connected, creative problem solvers. I told them I wanted to make Nick a hoodie. Then the conversation went something like this:

M&T: “A hoodie for Nick is great. Cool idea. But what if it also became a symbol of support for able-bodied people to wear as well?”
Me: “You mean like shaving your head in support of a cancer survivor or wearing a LiveStrong bracelet?”
M&T: “Exactly. We’ll have them done in a month.”
Me: “Holy s-t. OK. Let’s go.”

So here we are today. The One-Armed Hoodie. We have 50 samples of the OAH that have been given to injured golfers and other MR. MA ambassadors. And hundreds more are on order and will ship in November. Profits from the hoodie will go to the Simpson Cup (Ryder Cup-style tournament for injured, vet golfers which, incidentally, Nick Kimmel has qualified for AGAIN) and to create custom, adaptive apparel for injured golfers.

This is a crazy, rewarding journey. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride.