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

Apr 5, 2021, 6:32 PM | Updated: Apr 6, 2021, 5:35 am

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.

Adam Whitt is now an aspiring professional golfer who has hit the ball 427 yards. (Used by permission, Adam Whitt) Adam's wife Sarah is his teammate in fighting cancer. (Used by permission, Adam Whitt)

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.

KSL 5 TV Live


Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

14 days ago

FILE —  Respiratory virus illness activity continues to increase across the US.
(Joe Burbank/Orl...

Emma Benson

‘Not viruses to mess around with’: Experts urge caution during ongoing ‘tripledemic’

Experts say though not as severe as last year, this winter we're seeing another "tripledemic" – rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV in Utah.

2 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Emma Benson

‘The ICUs are full:’ Keep yourself and others healthy this holiday

It's time for holiday gatherings, but with more people around us comes a greater risk of getting sick.

2 months ago

Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

3 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

More free COVID-19 tests from the government are available for home delivery through the mail

Americans can order more free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery.

3 months ago

FILE - Doses of the anti-viral drug Paxlovid are displayed in New York, Aug. 1, 2022. The COVID-19 ...

Amanda Seitz, Associated Press

COVID-19 treatments to enter the market with a hefty price tag

The COVID-19 treatments millions of have taken for free from the federal government will enter the private market next week with a hefty price tag.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

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