The Comeback Year: A rower’s triumph over loss

The Comeback Year: A rower's triumph over loss

SU graduate student Jamey Bulloch talks about losing her father and what it took to get her back in the boat.
Published: December 16, 2021

The University of Virginia granted me three years of bliss, including best friends, two degrees and unforgettable memories. That is, until I reached my senior year.

On Aug. 17 last year, my father Allan Bulloch passed away after contracting COVID-19. I spent my final fall semester in Johannesburg, South Africa, detached from my college friends and experience that I truly loved.

When I returned to Charlottesville for spring classes earlier this year, it was the Virginia rowing team that pulled me out of the trenches and back into the boat. We worked toward our goal of being ACC rowing champions and fulfilled that with a title win in April.

I was afforded an extra year of NCAA eligibility due to COVID-19 and decided to take on a fifth year at Syracuse University. Ready to step back into the boat, I had hoped to assist Syracuse women’s rowing to another successful season.

But things didn’t quite go as I’d expected. After some strange fainting spells and panic attacks, I was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), which, combined with my grief, led to my decision to medically retire from rowing.

Annie Boos, my friend and Newhouse School classmate, has held my hand through these trying times and produced this video to tell my story.

Jamey Bulloch (center) and her family in South Africa
Jamey Bulloch (center) with her parents and siblings during a visit home to Johannesburg, South Africa.