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Entries in New York Giants (2)

Tuesday
Jan312012

Cancer Survivor Mark Herzlich Grateful To Compete in Super Bowl

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York Giants’ rookie linebacker Mark Herzlich stepped off the plane in Indianapolis to play against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI and immediately took to Twitter to express his gratitude. He was thankful not just to be there, but to be alive.

“2 yrs ago I was told I might never walk again. Just WALKED off plane in Indy to play in The #SuperBowl. #TakeThatSh*tCancer,” he tweeted.

In 2009, Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. The cancer was isolated to his left leg and the initial prognosis was not positive for the promising Boston College football star.

“They felt the NFL was a long shot,” Herzlich’s father, Sandy, told ESPN last summer. “They were first happy if they could save his life and they were happy if they could save his leg.”

Herzlich was told there were three possible outcomes.

“The worst-case scenario is obviously [that] it gets into other parts of your body and it completely kills you,” Herzlich told ESPN. “Second worst-case scenario is if they saw a small fracture in the bone and it was seeping out. Then they would have to amputate my leg right away within hours of finding it out. … Then better than that would be to remove that portion of the leg, putting in a cadaver bone and being in a cast for six months from the waist down, not ever being able to run again.”

It turns out there was a fourth and even better option.

Herzlich responded phenomenally to aggressive chemotherapy and radiation. He was given the choice to forgo surgery and continue treatment, saving his football career, but increasing the likelihood that the cancer could return, or have surgery, ending his football aspirations, but likely eliminating the cancer.

Herzlich decided to keep his dream alive.

After missing the 2009 college football season to undergo treatment, he took the field for Boston College in 2010. He started in all 13 games, but did not catch the eye of NFL scouts and was not drafted.

Herzlich continued training and eventually signed as a free agent with the New York Giants.

Now, one year into his NFL career Herzlich is set to compete at Lucas Oil Stadium in the biggest football game of the year, an opportunity that three years ago seemed nearly impossible.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan242012

Did NFL Giants Target Concussion-Prone 49er?

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The New York Giants targeted San Francisco 49er Kyle Williams in Sunday’s National Football Conference championship game because of his concussion history, according to two Giants players.

Williams, a wide receiver and punt returner, took a big hit in the third-quarter and went on to have two fumbles, including the overtime slip that cost his team the game.

“He’s had a lot of concussions,” Giants wide receiver Devin Thomas told the Newark Star Ledger. “We were just like, ‘We gotta put a hit on that guy.’” Thomas went on to praise safety Tyler Sash for landing the dizzying hit. “Sash did a great job hitting [Williams] early, and he looked kind of dazed when he got up. I feel like that made a difference, and he coughed it up.”

Jacquian Williams, the Giants linebacker who forced the second fumble, said Williams’ previous concussions prompted the hard hit.

“The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing, was to take him outta the game,” he told reporters after the game.

It may sound like a sinister strategy, but taking advantage of players’ weaknesses is a well-recognized tactic in the NFL. Although teams are required to submit an injury report each week, they make every effort to limit the exploitable details. But targeting a player with a history of concussions -- also known as mild traumatic brain injuries -- raises the tactic to a dangerous level.

“A brain injury is not like an ankle or knee injury; you can’t tape it up,”  Dr. Allen Sills, a neurologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Sports Concussion Center, told ABC News in August.

Repeated head trauma can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- a progressive brain disease with features of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio