Chuck Ochoa was training to become a full-time officer with the La Verne Police Department when he became paralyzed from the chest down during surgery. He says it happened “a little bit too early in life” but with the help of his family and a special Para Golfer chair, Ochoa’s been able to adapt to the change and continue his work on the green. Jacob Rascon reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 7, 2012.
While he was preparing to become a full-time officer with the La Verne Police Department, Chuck Ochoa’s doctors discovered a tumor. Surgery to remove growth left the husband and father of two paralyzed from the chest down.
"It was a little bit too early in life," Chuck said. "All the events I wanted to do as the kids were growing up, all of the sudden weren't there."
It’s been 23 years since Ochoa lost function below his chest, but he hasn’t given up what he loves.
He stayed in the force as a teacher and competed in wheelchair sports. Then with the help of a ParaGolfer chair, Chuck was standing again.
"Just the fact that I'm playing is fun," he said. "Getting this chair totally changed the game of golf."
Ochoa credits his family for strength to adapt to his affliction.
"Without them," he said, "you don't have really any reason to go on."
Ochoa’s wife, Sharon, says the couple stays active and even competes on the course.
"On his good days, he can beat me," she said. "On my good days, I can beat him."