On September 14, 2010, Chandler Fullman went to school as a healthy, typical 14-year-old looking forward to trying out for the high school golf team. During a routine weight training session in his physical education class Chandler suddenly fell ill and lost consciousness. He was immediately rushed to Children’s of Alabama where he was diagnosed with a brain bleed. It turned out that Chandler had a tangle of malformed blood vessels in his brain called an arteriovenous malformation. The malformation had been undetected since birth until it ruptured on that day causing the bleeding. Chandler was moved from the Emergency Department to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where he spent two and a half weeks.
Chandler spent 17 days in a coma, while his family and caregivers waited for him to wake up and remained uncertain what long-term effects this would have on him. After the miraculous day when he responded to commands by his family for the first time, he still faced many challenges. He had to relearn to walk, talk, sit, express emotions and take care of his basic needs. Chandler’s mother, Lisa Fullman, said, “Children’s of Alabama saved Chandler’s life. During his 56-day stay, Chandler received excellent care and was touched by every service available at Children’s. He was cared for by many wonderful and talented doctors and nurses.”
Chandler’s passion for sports, particularly golf, has been a common thread of motivation throughout his recovery. Before he had enough balance to stand and walk with stability, he went to the driving range and started working on his swing, first with his father’s arms wrapped around him and soon standing alone. He still suffers from weakness on one side of his body and receives physical and occupational therapy at Children’s. He grieved over the possibility that the illness would rob him of the ability to be a good golfer, but again and again he focused his energy on his therapy, determined to overcome the physical, mental and emotional deficits left by this neurological condition. Lisa says, “Every session brings him a step closer to full recovery.” On the golf course he gains strength, confidence, and peace, and a reaffirmation of the miracle of his life and his passion to fully recover.
Chandler has recently been selected to represent Children’s of Alabama in the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, November 8th-11th. Chandler was chosen as the miracle golfer from many nominations across the country. During the tournament, Chandler will have the opportunity to play with professional golfers and be a part of the many activities.