Boston College Football Star and Penn Cancer Survivor Battles Back to Join NFL


July 27, 2011

The New York Post

When oncologists find a 10-inch tumor – a troubling size when it comes to Ewing's sarcoma – they are ecstatic if that patient even walks again. Mark Herzlich, the Boston College football star and Philadelphia native who was treated for the disease at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center at both HUP and Pennsylvania Hospital, set a much bigger goal: to fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL despite his cancer. A Sacramento Bee story about Herzlich, who signed this week to play with the New York Giants, recounts his conversation with Stephen Hahn, MD, chairman of the department of Radiation Oncology, about his prospects for returning to the field as a professional player. When Herzlich told Hahn that he intended to resume his football career, Hahn knew he was venturing into uncharted waters. "And doctors don't like uncharted waters," Hahn said. "Then you throw in a variable like this – playing in the NFL, for God's sake – it's hard for us to quantify the risks under those circumstances." He consulted the medical literature and was encouraged with what he found. He also factored in one more major variable – Herzlich himself. "Frankly, I said to myself that if there's anybody that can do this, who has the will to overcome this, this is the guy who's going to do it," Hahn said... Read More

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