Hoffmann remaining positive since muscular dystrophy diagnosis
Energy, spirits high after spending four months in Nepal for herbal and holistic treatments
September 18, 2019
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Morgan Hoffmann hits a tee shot during the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
It’s not like Morgan Hoffmann could just go to the drugstore and get a prescription filled and he’d suddenly feel better.
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy doesn’t work that way. There’s no known cure for the progressive neuromuscular disorder that the PGA TOUR veteran has.
For five years, Hoffmann had consulted more than two dozen different doctors in an effort to find out why his right pectoral muscle seemed to be deteriorating. He could tell his swing speed had decreased and he could see the atrophy in his chest when he looked in the mirror.
In December of 2016, Hoffmann received the life-altering diagnosis of FSHD, which primarily affects the muscles of the face, chest, shoulders and upper arms. There is no treatment to halt or reverse the progression of the disease that reportedly affects one in 15,000-20,000 adults in the United States.
Hoffmann eventually went public a year later, writing a first-person essay in The Players Tribune that touched on not only the diagnosis but also his desire to raise awareness of the disease and continue his long-time mission to promote health and wellness for kids in need.
“All the doctors in the U.S. told me there was no cure and pretty much (said) good luck,” Hoffmann recalls. “… That's pretty unfortunate to hear what the doctors had to say, but I don't believe that.”
So, Hoffmann, who is playing in this week’s Sanderson Farms Championship, decided to take control of his body and his health. One of the first things he did was go to Nepal for four months to undergo a series of herbal and holistic treatments.
Hoffmann actually had been to Nepal before. He and one of his Oklahoma State teammates, Sean Einhaus, whose mother is from Kathmandu, had played 108 holes to raise money to send some computers to a school that his family had built there. Several years later, Hoffmann got to see the technology put to use.
This trip was different, though.
The actual treatment lasted for 90 days. He’d stretch out on a bed each morning, and therapists would rub herbs and plants mixed with water on him. The mixture would dry and soak into his body, then at night he could finally shower. The next day, they’d do it all again.
“I just laid there,” Hoffmann remembers. “I kind of like learned the language a little bit. I had a translator and he kind of taught me a bit every day. That was cool.”
Hoffmann thinks the treatments slowed the progression of the disease. He has also adopted an alkaline diet – eating only fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds – that proponents feel can rid a person’s body of acids that promotes disease and increases inflammation.
“I just take it day by day,” Hoffmann says. “My muscles aren't as fast as they used to be, and my energy is pretty good. I think my diet has a lot to do with it.”
Hoffmann also has established a foundation to raise money to build a health and wellness center, likely in Florida, where people can learn about everything from nutrition to meditation. Two fundraising pro-ams in the span of 14 months have raised a phenomenal total of nearly $2.6 million.
“We're not raising money for research because you don't know where it goes exactly,” Hoffmann says. “… We're going to just build a health and wellness center and try to educate people on how to eat properly and make sure that they can alkalize their body and get rid of disease that way.”
As far as golf is concerned, Hoffmann is playing this season on a major medical extension. He has six more events, counting this week’s Sanderson Farms Championship, to earn 232.40 FedExCup points so he can retain his TOUR card.
Last week, Hoffmann opened A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier with rounds of 66 and 65 but shot a pair of 71s on the weekend and ended up tied for 31st. He says he has worked on getting his legs more active in his swing, and he’s excited to see some speed coming back.
Most importantly, his attitude is positive. He is not stressing out about whether he can fulfill the requirements of his medical extension. He knows there are more important things in life.
“I don't see it as pressure anymore because it’s just golf and it's something that I love and I'm just trying to have fun,” Hoffmann says. “I'm trying to enjoy the process.”