Pro Golfer Can Fall Asleep Without Warning As She Plays

  • Nicole Jeray was diagnosed with narcolepsy in 1996 just two years after turning pro.
  • The 45-year-old secured partial status at her 22nd Q-school appearance.
  • Jeray must manage her condition to ensure she isn’t affected by sudden attacks of sleep.

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Nicole Jeray’s story appeared in the NY Times on Sunday and it’s truly inspiring. She just finished 36th at her 22nd L.P.G.A qualifying tournament and will have the chance to play at selected tour events next year.

Jeray has found ways to overcome this potentially debilitating condition. The Mayo Clinic describes narcolepsy as “a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep,”  which can affect 1 in 1,500 people.

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Jody keepers, her boyfriend and part-time caddie, described the difficulties she continues to face on the course, “She has to stay completely level emotionally for five hours just to play a tournament, which means she can’t get too excited about birdies or mad about bogeys.” “People have no idea what she goes through every day just to live, much less play professional golf,” Keepers added.

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In the interview Jeray described how she had been stopped 5 times by police for falling asleep at the wheel. She is also affected by temporary sleep paralysis, a traumatic occurrence whereby  a person is aware of their surrounding yet totally powerless, It’s an awful feeling not to be able to wake up,” she said, “It could be a dream that the plane is landing or it could real, but I can’t tell the difference.”

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The condition can be misdiagnosed in as many as 70% of cases according to Dr. Todd Swick, who has helped the golfer design a way to reduce it’s impact. Jeray continues to raise awareness and when you consider she has competed in 22 L.P.G.A qualifying events, earning full status 7 times and partial status a further 8 times, we should ask ourselves what excuses we make for giving up on our passions.