Eliot, Maine’s Teen Golfer Battles Epilepsy
By Ralph Morang / email@example.com Jul 25, 2017
for photos go to: http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20170725/teen-golfer-battles-epilepsy
Sean Pride shows his form at The Links at Outlook in South Berwick, Maine. [Ralph Morang photo]
Marshwood High School golf team co-captain Sean Pride, center, at The Links at Outlook in South Berwick, Maine, stands with his grandfather Ken Krebs, and fellow co-captain Nick Richardson. Sean is home-schooled because of epilepsy and anxiety and his grandfather is his learning coach. [Ralph Morang photo]
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Sean Pride of Eliot knocked a few golf balls into the driving range at The Links at Outlook this past Friday afternoon. His swing has improved over the last 15 years, since his grandfather, Ken Krebs, introduced him to golf when Sean was 2.
He spends a lot of time at The Links. “People think I live here,” he said.
As Sean grew up with golf, he also grew up with epilepsy. At the age of 5½, he had a two-hour seizure; it was thought he had had a brain hemorrhage. At Maine Medical Center, he was diagnosed with epilepsy. There are different types of epilepsy and Sean was treated with medication.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is a chronic disorder marked by unprovoked seizures. There are specific epilepsy syndromes. Public perception and treatment of people with epilepsy are often bigger problems than the actual seizures.
The brain is the source of human epilepsy. Although the symptoms of a seizure may affect any part of the body, the electrical events that produce the symptoms occur in the brain.
Over the years, Sean was weened off the medication. He has been completely off medication and has had no seizures for two years. Doctors told him he may have a type of epilepsy he can outgrow.
When Sean started high school at Marshwood, he developed anxieties. It was difficult to attend classes. Sean found it hard to concentrate. “I would second-guess myself,” he said.
Ken’s wife, Marie, Sean’s grandmother, found the Maine Virtual Academy, a charter school, through which Sean could take classes online. As a state charter school it is free, as public schools are.
“MEVA is so helpful,” Ken said. “It wants kids to succeed.”
Sean’s parents, Fred and Heather, asked Ken to be Sean’s learning coach in home schooling. Ken, who retired from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, said he spends 30 to 40 hours a week with Sean as he takes online classes.
Sean can participate in public school activities like the Marshwood High School golf team. He joined the junior varsity team when he was a freshman. He used to play baseball, but said he thought about success in the future and chose golf.
“That is my passion,” he said.
MHS golf team coach Mike Corriveau, who also teaches at The Links, said of Sean, “When he started at MHS, he showed a real love for the game.” But, Corriveau added, Sean was holding back, shy and nervous.
“In two years he matured tremendously,” he said. “I’ve seen a real change in his mannerisms and his ability to talk to people.”
His team chose him to be a co-captain in his junior year.
Sean’s senior year on the MHS golf team begins Aug. 14. At The Links this past Friday, co-captain Nick Richardson listened to Sean tell his story. Nick said they met in fourth grade.
Sean wants to be a professional golfer. Two tournaments are coming up at The Links that he can enter.
Sean has several jobs at The Links including wrangling golf carts and washing dishes at the Outlook Tavern. He also said, modestly, he helps out coach Corriveau. Corriveau said he had a leg injury that made teaching his summer camp difficult, and Sean stepped in to assist him.
“You won’t find a harder-working, dependable, reliable young man,” Corriveau said. “He is a joy to have around.”