PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Rutgers-Camden junior Sean Sanchirico is a lot like a regular college athlete, trying his best to make the varsity golf team and studying for a degree in Marketing.
But it’s his path that makes him different.
“A little over two years unknowingly I had a brain tumor,” Sanchirico says.
Starting in his senior year in high school, Sean was battling terrible stomach problems. Then during his sophomore season, he began to experience problems with his vision.
That’s when doctors discovered a brain tumor, the cause of all his problems.
Sean’s reaction? Relief.
“I had lived for so long not knowing what was wrong with me—that’s what was wrong the entire time,” he says.
After surgery to remove the tumor and radiation, Sean began his long road to recovery — and golf.
“After I had surgery I said, ‘You know what, I am going to work as hard as I can in therapy to get back to where I want to be…to be a collegiate golfer again.”
“We would go and visit him and he actually had a putting green at the rehab center and he was telling the people there his intention to play again,” Bob Cardea, Rutgers-Camden golf coach.
“Golf is my sanity… once I come out on the course it takes everything away,” says Sanchirico.
Sean’s game has improved as has his health. His long term prognosis is very good, and he just broke 80 for the first time since surgery.
But he is still experiencing side effects.
“Golf is tough enough for people to begin with so to play with double vision is exceptionally difficult,” Cardea says.
Sean has been playing while seeing not one golf ball — but two. That problem he hopes will be solved by an eye surgery this summer, but he’s already looking ahead to life after college.