Alabama High School Student Offers Inspiration at the Regions Tradition
June 7, 2012
By Ian Thompson, The Birmingham News
This story originally appeared in The Birmingham News.
Chandler Fullman's world was turned upside down Sept. 14, 2010, but not in a way he or his family could have envisioned.
That was the day he was set to try out for the Hoover High School golf team as a freshman and was working out at the high school facility when he suffered an arteriovenous malformation, which is an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in the brain that usually forms before birth and is similar to a stroke. This sent him into a coma for 17 days and when he emerged he had to learn to talk and walk again.
"He wasn't supposed to survive," his father, Terry Fullman, said. "I don't believe he would have without the help and care of Children's Hospital-- the doctors, nurses, rehab specialists. He was in hospital for 56 days."
Fast forward to Wednesday at the Regions Tradition and he was on the putting green, observing the Coaches Putting Challenge which pitted Gene Chizik and Al Del Greco against Wimp Sanderson and Jay Barker, with the Auburn team coming out on top.
Regaled in Auburn apparel, Fullman received some putting tips from two-time Regions Charity Classic winner Brad Bryant. "It was great to spend a few minutes with Chandler. I told him to lengthen his stroke a little, that's all," Bryant said.
Fullman's experience made Bryant think of a current, difficult medical situation facing a fellow Tour player. Dana Quigley's son, Devon, was hurt in a car wreck six months ago and remains in a coma.
"With Dana's son in a coma, it makes you think ...," Bryant said as his voice trailed off.
Fullman has had a long and arduous road to get to this point, but is a very determined young man.
He walked 18 holes for the first time last week in a BGA Junior Tour event at Altadena Valley.
"He started to get tired after 11 holes, but turned to me after 16 or 17 holes and said he was going to finish, even if they had to take him off the course on a gurney," his father said. "He was just in survival mode at that point and, I tell you, I had tears in my eyes. That was the first time he had walked 18 holes since (his coma) and I couldn't be more proud of him."
Last year at the Regions Tradition, Chandler Fullman was befriended by Champions Tour player Denis Watson and when he played at Altadena he proudly wore a hat Watson gave him
In November, he will play in the PGA Tour's Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Walt Disney World. He was selected out of more than 100 applicants from Children's Hospitals across the country to be their only representative in two days of this pro-am in which will be paired with a PGA Tour player. World No. 1 Luke Donald won this event last year.
"He talks about some of his friends who are football players and how tough they are," Terry Fullman said. "I think, 'Son, if you only knew what you've been through, that's toughness.'"
Fullman will be a junior at Hoover High School this fall and he'll try out again for the golf team. Here's hoping he makes it, but either way, he's still making it just by being out there and inspiring everyone as he plays golf and lives his life.
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