Personal Life

Congratulations To Cousin Jack

Cousin Jack Article Photo Collage

Told he wouldn’t walk again at age 5, Jack Marshall puts finishing touches on Lake Forest golf career “you could never have predicted.”

By Bob Narang
News Outlet: Chicago Tribune

October 12th, 2021 @ 12:27 PM CST

Lake Forest’s Jack Marshall was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Transverse Myelitis, which is the inflammation of one section of the spinal cord, when he was only 5 years old.

Joanna Marshall’s attempt to keep her emotions under control started to come unraveled late Saturday afternoon as her son Jack had just played the final round of his Lake Forest career at the Class 3A state meet, at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington. He shot a two-day total of even-par 144 to finish tied for eighth and earn all-state honors.

But Joanna Marshall’s emotions weren’t centered on her son Jacks performance. She said a rush of memories including her son’s countless surgeries and physical therapy sessions over the past 12 years came bubbling to the surface.

“I was hysterical,” she said. “Every single thought and feeling that we’ve had together for all those years was gushing out when he came off the 18th hole.”

When Jack Marshall was 5 years old, he was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Transverse Myelitis, which is the inflammation of one section of the spinal cord. The kid known as “Goose” was told he would never walk again.

“He was told to prepare for a life in a wheelchair,” Joanna Marshall recalled. “We had so many dark days back then. He was in the hospital for a month. We didn’t even know what he had for days. They even put Jack in a bubble.”

But Jack Marshall did learn to walk again. After multiple surgeries and countless physical therapy sessions, he still has a paralyzed quadriceps muscle in his left leg and not much mobility in his left ankle, but he can still compete with the state’s best on a golf course.

A 4 year varsity starter, he helped guide the Scouts to 3 state appearances, highlighted by a state championship in 2019.

So, when he closed out his career on Saturday, he and his mother embraced for a long hug.

“I’m not emotional, but I even got a little,” Jack Marshall said. “I’ve come a long way. Just to see where I was 12 years ago to where I’m now, you could never have predicted my career to happen like this.”

Golf became the ideal outlet for him.
“My condition will spring up at times, with little injuries here and there,” Jack Marshall said. “I can get limited and tired. But it doesn’t affect me on the course.”

Lake Forest coach James Matheson, who spent the entire round with Marshall on Saturday, said many coaches and players ask him about Marshall’s limp.

“It happens at pretty much every event,” Matheson said. “I get asked the most if he’s ok. He’s our best player, so the first time other people see him, they ask if he’s hurt.”

Marshall, said, “I’m still able to drive the farthest on the team. I can hit it 310 yards. I get my power from other places.”

“My freshman year, I didn’t know how it would all work out,” Marshall said. “I was thinking I was going to play junior varsity. But my scoring average improved every year. Lake Forest is one of the golf capitals in Illinois. I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished. It means a lot to be a part of the Lake Forest golf legacy.”

———-Article End———-

Malia and I are so proud of you Cousin Jack! Reading the article about you made our day.

When your nieces and nephews in Bethesda get a little bit older, maybe you can teach them how to play golf? I’m sure they would enjoy it. Either way, we would love to see you.

After Malia read the article, she said:

“Baby, our family is tough. You made a comeback from a Subdural Hematoma rupture and surgery. Jack was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis at age 5 and look at him now. We are overcomers. Love it!”


“It has been a while since we’ve had a big family reunion. It would be nice to do that.”

You know Malia. In Malia talk, that means we will be having a big family reunion soon. Expect an invite in the mail.

The Story of The First Time MJ Walked On His Own After His Subdural Hematoma Brain Surgery –

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About Michael "MJ The Terrible" Johnson

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