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Stevens Johnson Survivor Wins Golf Championship

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USA Today(8/16/16) recounts Sauers' struggle with SJS, which happened around 2008. Initially, Sauers thought he had rheumatoid arthritis, but the diagnosis was incorrect and he wound up with a diagnosis of Stevens Johnson syndrome.

"I couldn't get off the couch," Sauers told reporters at a news conference after the win. "I had hard floors in my house and I had to put socks on my feet. Within three minutes, I could slide myself to the refrigerator and get something to drink and slide myself back about three minutes before my legs would start burning, and I had to prop them up. It was just ridiculous."

During his ordeal, his legs turned black. Doctors gave him only a 25 percent chance of survival, and he spent seven weeks in hospital while his body battled the condition. He reportedly required skin grafts and stapling to treat the burns on his arms and legs.

Stevens Johnson syndrome is a rare reaction - often to medications - that causes the patient's mucous membranes and other tissues to develop burn-like injuries. It often begins with flu-like symptoms but then develops into a pain rash that blisters. Patients typically lose a portion of their skin and their internal organs can be permanently damaged. Those who develop SJS are often treated in hospital burn units and even those who survive may suffer permanent health issues, including blindness and respiratory problems.

Despite thinking he was going to die, Sauers recovered, but it took years before he was able to play golf again. And now he has a U.S. Senior Open Championship. His last victory on a golf course was in 2002.

"[The victory] means the world to me," Sauers said. "I saw the light at the end of that tunnel, and I was heading there. The good Lord stopped me and backed me up and said, 'no, you're not done yet.' It's just unbelievable to not play golf, not touch a golf club for seven years and to come out and to win a Major golf tournament on a hard golf course."

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