AUSTIN, TEXAS – September 1, 2021
Professional golfer Christiaan Bezuidenhout and the Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education & Research (the Blank Center) today announced a partnership to raise awareness of stuttering and the life-changing approach to treatment at the Blank Center, led by Dr. Courtney Byrd.
The 27-year old South African professional golfer and Olympian, a back-to-back winner on the European Tour in December 2020 and currently ranked 50th in the Official World Golf Ranking, has lived his whole life navigating the challenges of stuttering.
“This is a very special partnership for me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to help more people become aware of the mission and vision of the Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education & Research,” comments Bezuidenhout. “Stuttering is a subject that is close to my heart, and my own life has been changed by the groundbreaking work at the Blank Center. I’m looking forward to working with Dr. Byrd to ensure that the world understands that it truly is ok to stutter and to prevent as many children as possible from going through the same struggle with their stuttering that I did.”
The Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education and Research, named after its eponymous patron, who is also a person who stutters, was established at The University of Texas at Austin to advance understanding about the nature and effective treatment of stuttering, to create a pipeline of expert clinicians and researchers, and to make quality care accessible to all people. The Blank Center is headed by Founding and Executive Director, Dr. Courtney Byrd.
“Christiaan Bezuidenhout is a role model for children and adults,” says Dr. Byrd. “As a successful athlete winning on the global stage, he is uniquely positioned to reach and inspire the stuttering community worldwide to never let stuttering stop them from pursuing their personal and professional dreams.”
As part of the partnership, Bezuidenhout will showcase the Blank Center’s logo on his golf bag and will participate in several initiatives, events and programs meant to educate the general public, reduce the stigmatization of stuttering and facilitate access to the Blank Center’s approach to treatment.
The Blank Center rests on a foundation of ‘Dream. Speak. Live.’ with the evidence-based understanding that communication is not defined by fluency, and through that foundation, stuttering does not stop people who stutter from pursuing their dreams, speaking from their hearts, and living their lives to the fullest. Through participating in the Blank Center treatment provided at no cost, children, teens, and adults learn to stutter openly, speak confidently, communicate effectively and advocate meaningfully, which ensures that their overall quality of life is not negatively impacted by whether or not they stutter when they speak.