Monday, September 24

Jack Nicklaus Had Polio

(Gunnsteinn J/Flickr)

If I knew the Golden Bear had polio as a teen, I had forgotten. I read this over the weekend from a 2004 Golf Digest interview:

I had polio when I was 13. I started feeling stiff, my joints ached, and over a two-week period I lost my coordination and 20 pounds. The doctors thought I had the flu.

I played an exhibition with Patty Berg and shot 53 for nine holes — not very good for a kid with a plus-3 handicap.

My sister, Marilyn, was diagnosed at about the same time; the doctors deduced that she got it from me. Marilyn, who was 10, was unlucky. For a year she was unable to walk but eventually got 95 percent of her movement back.

I recovered after a few weeks, but I still may suffer from post-polio syndrome. My whole career, my joints have gotten awfully sore at times. Polio is just a memory now, but it was a horrible disease. I got it a year or two before Jonas Salk's polio vaccine was distributed.

The great ones seem to overcome all kinds of obstacles.

The Armchair Golfer

4 comments :

Duke said...

I am sure this not one Jack's records Tiger wants to break.

lancer said...

I had not heard this before. Interesting.

Tom Blogical said...

What a stunner. I had no idea either.

Anonymous said...

Had no idea...I was born in june of 1940 and had about the same attack of polio as Jack, at the age of 6..however, my neighbor ended up in an iron lung. What a great guy.