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ACC Defensive Player of the Year Mark Herzlich Has Cancer

Boston College Senior Linebacker Mark Herzlich sought tests to determine the source of some leg pain he had been having and the results must have shocked him even more than us: he was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, which is a malignant tumor primarily affecting children and young adults.

Herzlich is 21 and coming off a stellar season at BC, leading one of the nation’s best defenses and carrying the team to its second consecutive ACC Title Game.  Returning for his senior season, he certainly was going to be a key cog of rookie BC Head Coach, and former Defensive Coordinator, Frank Spaziani’s defense, one that likely will have to shoulder to load again to carry an inexperienced offense.

Herzlich, a Wayne, PA native, has returned home and acknowledged that even he is unsure how this will affect his football future in a press release:

“This past week, I got some news nobody wants to hear. After undergoing some tests to determine the cause of some pain I had been experiencing in my leg, I learned that I have Ewing’s Sarcoma.”Obviously, I was shocked. I had been extremely focused on preparing for my senior season at Boston College and for life beyond that. Now, I must channel all that energy into facing my toughest opponent yet, and that is exactly what I will do.

“I have returned to Pennsylvania to be near my family and to undergo a series of tests that will help my doctors determine the best course of treatment. I will keep you informed about my progress, but for now, I would like to ask for privacy as my family and I make some tough decisions.

“At this point, I do not know what this means for my football future, but I am determined to rid my body of this disease so that I can put that uniform back on. Thank you in advance for your prayers and concern. Together, we will fight this and win.”

This is certainly a blow for the Eagles, but sports pale in comparison when you hear news like this.  It always seems unfair when a young person who is in their peak physical condition has their livelihood, at least temporarily, taken away.  I hope that he can regain his health expeditiously and get back on the football field where he belongs.

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2 comments for “ACC Defensive Player of the Year Mark Herzlich Has Cancer”

  1. This is very terrible news, even for a non-BC fan. I have a friend who is going through this same disease and it’s very serious. Depending on where it is, there’s possibility of amputation, knee replacement or a whole host of other options. It usually needs chemo too. Hope it’s a case they can find out quickly and he can survive, let alone play football again

    Posted by Jeff | May 14, 2009, 7:44 pm
  2. Certainly his health comes first. I have never heard of the disease until today and did not realize how serious it is. I just hope he can get back to a normal life. It still amazes, and saddens me, how someone at the top of their game physically, can be hit by things like this…similar to Mario Lemieux getting cancer. Just shows you how fragile life is.

    Posted by Mike | May 14, 2009, 8:59 pm

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