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Famous Athletes Who Fought Cancer And Returned To Their Sport



News about famous athletes suffering from various medical conditions reminds us that athletes to are after all like the rest of us and areas susceptible to health problems like others. But athletes, with their fighting spirit and never say die attitude, can also inspire those of us who are fighting life-threatening illnesses such as cancer.

Here are a few famous athletes who suffered from cancer, yet fought the diseased tooth and nail to return to the game.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Arguably one of the best ice hockey players, Lemieux was a gifted sportsperson who despite his large size, played hockey beautifully. He suffered from chronic back pain, spinal disc herniation, and chronic tendinitis his entire career. In 1993 he announced that he suffered from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Due to this condition, he was forced to undergo energy-draining radiation therapy. This cast a doubt on his sporting career as well as his own life. Due to the treatment, he missed 2 months of play; the peak of his career when he was at his best. One of the greatest examples of his courage is that he flew to Philadelphia to play on the last day of his radiation treatment and also scored a goal.

Mike Lowell – Testicular Cancer

Mike Lowell was a Major League Baseball third baseman. Just one year after getting into Major League, in 1999, Lowell found that he had testicular cancer. This caused him to miss spring training as well as two months of the regular season. But he fought back and returned to the game to win 3 World Series titles and was also named 4 times to the All-Stars team.

Edna Campbell – Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer afflicting women globally. Edna Campbell, a women’s basketball player was no exception. During the peak of her career, she suffered from breast cancer. However, she became a symbol of courage as she battled the disease and continued to play even though her treatments. Later on, she became the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation’s national spokesperson, inspiring many women to recover from the disease.

Martina Navratilova – Breast Cancer

The former tennis player has many accolades to her credit. She is considered to be one of the finest tennis players ever, with 18 grand slam singles titles, 31 major women’s doubles titles, and 10 major mixed doubles titles to her credit. However, this powerhouse sportsperson was detected with breast cancer in 2010 which she battled.

Mark Herzlich – Bone Cancer

During the senior season at Boston College, Herzlich was preparing for NFL which would be detrimental for his career. In his previous season, he had made major strides by receiving First-team All-American honors. But he shocked his fans by revealing that he had Ewing’s sarcoma.

Four months after the diagnosis and just a few weeks into the season, he went on to declare that cancer had been treated and he was now cancer-free. He focused all his attention in preparation for the 2010 season. At the end, he was in all the 13 games and was signed by the Giants for the 2011 NFL season.

Brett Butler – Throat Cancer

This Major League player had a habit of tobacco chewing. He was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsils. He got his tonsils removed due to what doctors assumed to be an infection. However, it was found out to be cancerous due to which he had to undergo extensive treatment, forcing him to sit out. Nonetheless, he returned to the game to finish the season as well as play one more season in the Major League.

All these players are a fitting example of strength and determination, who have overcome obstacles and achieved their goals.