Everyone loves a redemption story. Think about how we cheer on athletes we thought were done for one reason or another, only to surprise us with one more strong run (and no, Brett Favre is NOT in this discussion). Athletes who have suffered some great tragedy or injury in their lives and their rise back to the top (Derek Fisher and his daughter’s rare eye illness, Derrick Lee’s daughter losing sight in her eye, Stafon Johnson’s freak weight lifting accident, Willis McGhee’s gruesome knee / leg injury, and Sean Livingston’s freak knee injury just to name a few) have always made for great story lines.
Meet Boston College’s senior outside Linebacker Mark Herzlich, who is no exception to the great comeback story. After racking up 110 tackles as a Junior and being named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of cancer often found in bones or soft tissue, in May of 2009. Herzlich missed almost 15 months of football while going through chemotherapy to deal with the cancer. That all changed Saturday afternoon when Herzlich led the Boston College Eagles onto the field. Herzlich greeted a cheering Boston College student section that welcomed him back to action.
Herzlich had this to say in his triumph return:
“I had to try to remember what to do before a game. Small mistakes were to be expected, I guess, but I’m going to have to take bigger steps as we go on.”
Herzlich now plays with a titanium rod in his left leg, after the cancer destroyed much of the bone in it. Herzlich played approximately 25 plays, with three tackles and two assists.
Congrats and welcome back Mark Herzlich. Football fans all over are pulling for you to not only succeed on the field, but to also continue beating an ever bigger and faster opponent, cancer.