CLINTON — Tyler Swanson was on the fast track to a professional golf career when a car accident at age 20 derailed his plans.
Now, the 30-year-old Clinton resident will be sharing his golf knowledge with young athletes as the new Fulton High School golf coach.
Growing up in Clinton, Tyler started golfing at age 3 and won his first tournament at age 8. He continued to golf, playing on the Clinton High School team, and won All State by 11 points his senior year.
During high school, winning a tournament in St. Louis and then Disneyland qualified him for the opportunity to golf in Scotland on a course where golf originated. He was awed by the experience.
“It was very humbling and historical,” Tyler said.
After high school, Tyler attended Iowa State University in Ames on a golf scholarship and continued to participate in tournaments. In 2003, he participated in the Professional Golf Association tour.
“I thought I was on the top of the world,” Tyler said
However, everything changed not even a year later, during his sophomore year of college, when a car accident left him with a traumatic brain injury.
Tyler was driving his friend’s car early in the morning, traveling from Iowa City back to Ames for college exams. To this day, he does not remember what happened, but knows the car flipped into the center, grassy area of the road. Tyler was flung 75 feet in front of the car and his friend flew 25 feet behind it.
Tyler spent six weeks in a coma and sustained a right brain injury, which affects the left side of his body. He said it is like that side is a “half a second slower.” His coordination is not what it used to be and he walks with a noticeable limp.
“Basically I was reborn when I was 20,” Tyler said.