Professional Golfer Receives Life-saving Heart Transplant
Erik Compton is a survivor. When he was nine, Erik was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart muscle is inflamed and unable to pump as hard as it should. In 1992, at 12 years old, he received a heart transplant at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Although recovery was long and difficult, it never stopped Erik from achieving his dream of becoming a professional golfer.
Erik was the number one-ranked junior, a two-time All-American at the University of Georgia, and a member of the 2001 Walker Cup team before turning professional in 2001. He played mostly on the Nationwide Tour, but qualified for a few PGA events, too.
However, in 2008, as he was preparing to qualify for a permanent PGA Tour card, his transplanted heart started to fail. He received a second heart in May of that year, also at Jackson. Just six months after the second transplant, Erik offered hope to thousands awaiting lifesaving transplantations by competing for a spot on the PGA Tour. He made it through the first of three qualifying rounds, but missed the cut by one stroke in the second.
Erik was naturally disappointed, but he felt it might be a blessing in disguise. At the time, he had a new wife and a baby on the way, so he thought perhaps he was meant to go back to teaching golf. He said, “I’m a big believer in fate and what it brings. I would like to have another go at it, though.”
Sep. 1926 Jackson History
“The Storm” Hits South Florida, Leaving Many Hurt. Link opens story page.
The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, also known as “The Storm,” devastated South Florida from Miami to the Florida Keys.Explore in story page.
Feb. 2018 Employee Stories
Proud of Jackson’s Cultural Evolution. Link opens story page.
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Jul. 2008 Medical Firsts
Child Lives Without Heart For 118 Days. Link opens story page.
After her first heart transplant failed within a day, 14-year-old D’Zhana Simmons lived 118 days with a custom-built artificial heart.Explore in story page.