This must be what fame is like. You wander through the television section of a department store, and Martin's face fills all the screens. He is the newest icon in Nike's "I Can" campaign. In his TV spots and in person, Martin, a Christian, is handsome, polite, earnest and bright—none of which, by themselves, would make him anybody's poster boy.
At Stanford, where students with a range of abilities are commonplace, he studied economics, played piano at fraternity parties, studied the Bible, mentored a Hispanic youngster and led the Cardinal golf team to an NCAA championship—the year before Tiger Woods got there. Martin's a food crank with a condiments phobia. He shuns mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise and relish, and for a stretch in childhood lived almost exclusively on white rice. Which is interesting but not marketable.
And he keeps his leg covered. "The leg is unattractive," he explains. "It's not that I'm ashamed of it. God created me this way. But it's not something to display." For that reason Martin was relieved last week when Judge Coffin ruled that Court TV could not televise his trial. "I'm going to have to show my leg in court," Martin says, "and I don't want it on Hard Copy"
Question: Would Hard Copy want pictures of his leg?
Answer: Yes. The tabloid show recently offered a Portland videographer several thousand dollars if he could get a clear image of Casey's withered limb.
The pictures that really tell the story are the X-rays taken of Martin's leg over the years. He was born with Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, a rare circulatory disorder that causes blood to pool in his lower right leg. He lacks the deep venous system that would normally nourish the bones below the knee, so his tibia has become increasingly brittle. "You look at the X-rays, year by year, and the bones go from healthy white to dark and darker," Martin says. "They're deteriorating." His orthopedic surgeon, Donald Jones, describes Martin's right knee as "that of a 70-or 80-year-old" and warns that should Martin stumble or step in a hole, his leg could simply snap. The prognosis, if that were to happen? Amputation above the knee.
"So many articles about Casey minimize the seriousness of his condition," says his mother, Melinda Martin. "From the time he was a baby, he has lived with pain. He used to hemorrhage every few months, and each time, we had to splint him or put the leg in a cast."
The Martins wanted their little Casey to be normal. Instead, he proved to be extraordinary. As a grade-schooler, he transformed his bedroom into a junior think tank and began cranking out straight-A report cards. When an aunt decided to get rid of an old piano, the Martins claimed it for Casey. Before long he was sight-reading pop tunes and wading happily into the New Age pianism of George Winston.
The most poignant part of Casey's development was his attachment to his athletic brother, Cameron, who is 2½ years older. Cameron played varsity basketball at South Eugene High and wound up at Oregon on a golf scholarship. Casey played sixth-and seventh-grade ball but had to quit because of cartilage damage in the weakened knee. Golf, however, was a game the two boys could share with each other and with their dad, who played to a 10 handicap at Eugene Country Club. "They never really competed against each other," Melinda says of her two sons. "They supported each other in everything."
They still do. Cameron didn't make last week's Washington trip, but he couldn't have been happier if he had. "We keep pinching ourselves," he says. "Casey's tournament win, the Nike deal, the capital trip, the Greg Norman call...."