By Rex Farmer
College Athletes already have enough on their plate with school and practice. But SAU golfer Caroline Griffin has been dealt a tougher hand then the average student. Griffin was unable to attend SAU last spring semester due to heart failure. This wasn’t the first time she had experienced heart problems.
Griffin had an older sister who passed away at just 5 months old from heart disease. So during pregnancy, her parents were cautious and had her checked on to make sure she was healthy. When she was 4 weeks old, doctors could not believe how much her heart had deteriorated. Griffin was immediately put in intensive care and on the transplant list. She got the heart transplant at just 3 months old. She suffered from a heart disease called Endocardial Fibroelastosis. The only cure is transplantation. Her Father passed away from the disease when he was 3 years old, thats when they knew it was genetics. Griffin didn’t let a heart transplant hold her back athletically.
“I was always more of the athletic person, I was never a girly girl. I tried every sport, soccer, softball, volleyball, and basketball.” Griffin said. “I never did too much, because I would get tired faster then everybody else. An average person in basketball would play like 10 minutes, I would play 5. But I never see sports as something I can’t do because what happened to me.”
Because of her willingness to try every sport, Griffin found her nitch in golfing at a young age.
“At 10 years old I just wanted to ride the golf cart because it was fun!” Griffin said. “But as I got older and started to play, I learned I liked golf. It didn’t involve running, its relaxing and on your own time. In golf you’re to yourself. You’re not worrying about doing things for other teammates, like passing the ball. Its like on your own and its very peaceful. That’s how I got into golf. It is perfect for me, especially for a person who has gone through a heart transplant.”
Over Christmas break of 2013, Griffin wasn’t feeling herself. Just wrapped up the fall semester at SAU, but was feeling weak. She went to the doctor for a check up and found out she had heart failure.
“At the young age of 20, thats something you don’t want to hear.” Griffin said. “Your’e so used to hearing that about a grandparent or someone who has heart failure. You never think yourself. I was taken back.”
Griffin would miss the spring semester of school and the majority of the golf season.
“I was in intensive care for the whole month of January. I tell people I’ve been to hell, because everyday there was new procedure. One day I was so weak because I had a seizure and they put me under a ventilator. Nurses told me that I was so close to needing another transplant. It was just a very hard time. I could tell how serious it was because of the tears in my family and friends eyes.”
But Griffin is back playing golf this season and more excited. Through all the trials, she has persevered and kept her spirit.
“I’m just so happy to be back.” Griffin said. “I am proud to say that I am back playing golf!”