Erik holds the distinction as being the only professional golfer in the world to compete with a transplanted heart. In 1992, Erik received his first heart transplant at the age of 12 and was forced to give up all contact sports. Diagnosed at age 9 with viral cardiomyopathy, an inflammation of the heart that restricts its ability to pump blood, Erik Compton endured his first transplant surgery at 12, a gift from a young girl killed by a drunk driver.
Compton was in his car in 2007 when that heart finally gave out, causing pain so intense that he called family members to tell them he was dying. Somehow the golfer drove himself to a hospital before collapsing. Doctors saved him with a pacemaker and defibrillator, but that was a temporary fix.
In 2008, he had his second heart transplant. Isaac Klosterman had just died after his motorcycle was struck on a Florida highway by a hit-and-run driver in a Dodge pickup, Isaac Klosterman’s death was what really gave Erik Compton life. Among the medical miracles were donations of Klosterman’s skin, eyes, jaw, both his kidneys and his lungs. His heart gave life to Erik Compton.
Today, Compton is 35 realizing his Masters dream, playing at Augusta for the first time.
Whilst Compton doesn’t know if he will ever need a third heart transplant, he appreciates each and every moment that life brings. “Every day is a gift,” he said. “All I know is that right now, I don’t have to be out there killing myself to get my tour card for next year. The reality of what I have is, I probably won’t ever have a permanent fix. But I can be very successful and have an awesome life.”