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Luke Carroll preparing for inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open


Father Ryan's Luke Carroll is always on the golf course.
Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 9:58 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Father Ryan’s Luke Carroll is always on the golf course.

“This is why I’m out here all the time. It’s like my magical place,” Carroll said.

The 16-year-old is magical with the club in his hand.

He shoots in the low 70s, can crush it 250 yards off the tee and has the short game to match.

But six years ago, he was playing basketball and noticed something wasn’t right.

“I felt a burning sensation in my legs, and I was really tired,” he said.

So, Luke went to sleep that night. The next morning, he said he woke up and couldn’t stand up out of bed.

Luke was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder in the spinal cord.

No explanation to why he got it.

And just like that, the 10-year-old who was a super-active kid had to learn to walk again.

“It was very difficult in the beginning. They were telling us that he was not gonna be able to play sports again, that we needed to focus on wheelchair activities,” mom Jennifer said. “But he refused to let that be the end factor.”

Through physical therapy and determination, Luke exceeded expectations and became a great golfer.

“When he gets up to the ball, everything is normal. His swing is beautiful,” Father Ryan golf coach Greg Thompson said.

In between shots is where his condition is noticeable.

“You can mainly see it with my gait. I drag my feet most of the time,” Luke said.

But it hasn’t slowed him down.

In fact, next month Luke will play in the first ever U.S. Adaptive Open. It’s a tournament showcasing the world’s best golfers with disabilities. It will be played at famed Pinehurst Country Club in North Carolina.

“It’s the mecca of the East coast for golf. It’s hosted many championships and stuff,” Luke said.

In 2024, Pinehurst will host the U.S. Open.

This July, 96 competitors from 29 states and 12 countries will make history. Luke will be the second-youngest person in the field.

“It’ll be a little emotional to see how far he’s come,” mom Jennifer said. “Then, to put it in perspective, there will be all other abilities out there, and to see him participate with like individuals and see where they’ve come from and their stories, it’ll be quite uplifting.”

“I told him, ‘You better get ready because you’re gonna kind of be an example to a lot of people who maybe don’t think they can do what you do and you’re gonna inspire them,’” Thompson said.

“I don’t view it as a handicap. I don’t think of myself as that,” Luke said. “You just got to do your best at what you have and it’s all thanks to God.”

The U.S. Adaptive Open runs July 18-20 at Pinehurst Course No. 6.

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