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Former Houston Astros Star Turned Utah Pro Golfer Fights Cancer During COVID-19

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Many Utahns have faced the fear of COVID-19, knowing that they are already fighting a potentially deadly disease that compromises a weakened immune system. That’s the case for one Utah man, aspiring golfer, Adam Whitt.

In golf, you have to go the distance. Whitt started to find his swing.

“Nobody can hit the ball as far as he does here in Utah,” said Dave Todoroff, Whitt’s friend, who lives in Salt Lake City. “He’s got a recorded drive on our tracer technology of 427 yards, and I think that’s 13th in the country. Insanely far.”

It was an incredible feat, considering he just became a pro golfer. “His ball head speed is between 190 and 200 miles an hour,” Todoroff said.

Three years ago, Whitt faced a “triple bogie.”

“Your five-year plan, your 10-year plan, all that stuff kind of goes out the window,” said Whitt, who teaches golf at Golf The Round.

He got very sick from acute myeloid leukemia, blood cell cancer.

“He came in with a white blood cell count of over 300,000,” said Dr. Srinivas Tantravahi, Huntsman Cancer Institute.

That was off the charts, according to Tantravahi, but treatable by a drug Adam takes daily- with tough side effects.

Whitt said, “You kind of wake up with a little headache, a little bit of joint pain, just kind of all over, almost like you have the flu.”

Then, the pandemic hit.

“You’re already living with something that’s trying to kill you and you’re fighting every day against that,” Whitt said.

Recently, on his 28th birthday, Whitt got the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s a good birthday present,” he said.

Thankfully, with his type of cancer, doctors expected a strong immune response. For many Utahns with cancer, treatments often compromised their body’s response, making COVID-19 a far greater risk.

Tantravahi said, “There’s a higher chance of getting sick, as well as increased risk of mortality.”

Doctors said the vaccine lowers those risks of contracting a severe case of COVID-19, and some protection is better than none.

Whitt said, “It’s not over yet. It just kind of gives us a little more hope.”

Adam has taken precautions, and reached new heights in his golf game- and that’s saying something. For three years, he pitched in the major leagues. It prepped him mentally, for this new foe.

“I would come in, in the most pressurized situations, you know bases loaded,” Whitt said. “We were winning by one run, in the last inning.”

The former Houston Astros star turned golf pro started to fight cancer during COVID-19 with the best kind of teammate, his wife Sara Whitt.

“We support each other, we pick each other up where the other is lacking,” Sara said.

Together they’re a go for extra innings.

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