Ingram gets into WACO swing after illness

August 15, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

Chuck Ingram absorbed every moment he experienced in the WACO Championship last weekend at Beaver Creek Country Club.

Unusual as it sounds for someone who has been a regular visitor to the links, it was Ingram's first competitive tournament of the season.

After spending 22 years in the Boonsboro school district as a basketball coach, including a stint as the head coach of the Warriors boys team, Ingram retired to Sanford, N.C. in June, 2004. The only work he had during his retirement was as a marshal at Anderson Creek Country Club in nearby Fayetteville, N.C.

There's a good reason why Ingram, 52, was playing his first tournament and what he said was "about my 15th round of golf" this year.


The reason for his inactivity was an unfortunate struggle. It was a battle to return to good health.

It started in February when Ingram thought he had a simple case of the flu. It triggered a six-day stay in a Sanford hospital. Upon returning home, Ingram immediately became ill again and ended up in the University of North Carolina hospital.

Ingram's blood pressure dropped to 42/20 while his heartbeat raced to 165. He was in shock, but tests could not detect the reason for his sudden illness.

"The tests couldn't find anything so they sent me back home," said Ingram. "But I got sick again and ended up in ICU (intensive care) for another seven days."

He was sent home again, managing to last one week before another relapse landed him back in ICU for six days plus another weeklong stay in the hospital out of ICU.

Finally, Ingram was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a blood infection that affects three out of a million people, according to his doctors.

"At the same time I'm being treated for a prostrate inflammation," said Ingram.

To complicate matters, Ingram was also being treated for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, caused by a tick bite, which added to his weakened state.

Doctors finally got antibiotic treatment working in the right direction for Ingram, who lost about 15 pounds from his 220-pound frame. The Stevens-Johnson syndrome was causing the low blood pressure and diminished organ functions, with his kidneys becoming the most affected.

Ingram spent 22 days in ICU and another 30 days in the hospital before finally receiving medical clearance at the beginning of June.

"I'm down (in North Carolina) by myself, but I can't tell you how many cards and calls I received," said Ingram. "I am so grateful to everyone who took time with their wishes and included me in their prayers."

Ingram generally plays 15 rounds of golf in a month, much less in a year. But his return to Beaver Creek last weekend was one that left his well-wishers with smiles upon seeing him. He has been a champion on and off the golf course and was a WACO champion in 1991 and 1998.

"I thank God for my family back home and my friends. ... I know I had them worried to death," said Ingram, who said he's gained about eight pounds back. "You appreciate things when you get a second chance. You look at life with a different view."

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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