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Freshman football player 'braves' cancer

By Alejandro Villegas
On October 16, 2013


Bryce Steiner, a freshman from Claflin, Kan., won the battle against cancer this past winter and recovered successfully to play college football at Ottawa University.


Steiner played football, basketball and baseball for his high school and eventually started to have knee pain during his senior football season.


“The trainers told me I probably had a tear or something in there. It wasn’t great, but it was something I was going to play through,“ he said. “I didn’t want to miss my senior year in football.”


When Steiner went to the doctor, he was prepared for an ACL problem diagnosis.


“The MRI came home black,” he said. “They had no clue about what was going on.”


Steiner’s doctor immediately ordered a bone biopsy.


“It turned out I had lymphoma,” Steiner said. “It started pretty quick. Less than a month later I started treatment.”


Steiner spent 13 weeks of treatment in Kansas City, having chemotherapy 24 hours a day, every day, while he was there.


“They have all the equipment and medication I needed. Up there was not so bad,” he said.


Steiner described his experience as weird.


“They didn’t do anything wrong, but I didn’t stay laying down after one of the procedures they had done and I had terrible headaches,” Steiner said. “That was the worst thing. The headaches just dropped me. I couldn’t do anything.”


Steiner said that lying down was another negative aspect of the treatment.


“It wasn’t easy to be laying down for hours,” he said. “I never got sick. I didn’t feel great, but I never got really sick.”


Steiner did not think he could play football again soon. In fact, before the cancer treatment, Steiner was planning on playing college baseball.

The doctors told Steiner that his knee was never going to be the same.


“My doctor said he thought I was going to be able to play again, but he didn’t know how soon,” he said. “At first, he was talking about years.”


Months later, Steiner was back on the field.


“I got to play in two all-star football games this summer before I came here,” Steiner said.


Ottawa University recruited Steiner in an unusual way. Steiner’s father, a former football player at Ottawa University, brought his son to campus because he wanted to visit his old school.


“We were just coming through one day and he wanted to check some stuff up. He was curious about how everything looked like nowadays,” Steiner said.12

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