Mark Herzlich's Comeback From Cancer
By Marc Hertz | Wednesday, May 5, 2010 7:30 AM ET
Against the odds, the Boston College linebacker plans for a long-awaited comeback this September.
The 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year… Mark Herzlich was a top-flight linebacker for Boston College in 2008, winning the aforementioned ACC award, along with numerous mentions as a first team All-American, and was a finalist for the Butkus Award, the top honor for college linebackers. Known for the rather intimidating face paint he wore during games, he was entering his senior season as a player to watch for NFL scouts, quite possibly as a first-round draft pick.
Learned he had cancer… As Rivals.com reported, in the spring of 2009, there was pain and swelling in Herzlich's left leg that wouldn't go away, so he had an MRI done, which showed a mass. It was diagnosed as Ewing's sarcoma, a rare cancer that's typically found in the bone or in soft tissue. He was told football wasn't in his future, with his chances of survival ranging somewhere between 30 to 70 percent, depending on whether the cancer had already spread or not.
But wouldn't give up on football… About a week after his diagnosis in May of 2009, he started chemotherapy and within six months, incredibly, he was 99 percent cancer free. A month later, he had his last round of chemo, and when September 4 rolls around, he'll race onto the field to play in BC's opening game against Weber State. Not only has Herzlich been busy getting back into football shape, but as ESPN reported, he's also helped his school's chapter of Uplifting Athletes (a nonprofit that has college football players help raise awareness of rare diseases) to raise more than $200,000 for cancer-related charities.