Mark Herzlich could hardly believe his ears when the announcer said it: Starting, in place of injured Chase Blackbourn, linebacker Mark Herzlich.
Mark Herzlich is the former Boston College standout who fought back from a huge bout with cancer. Herzlich started in two games for the Giants last season, after signing as an undrafted free agent and making the final roster out of camp. With true Insightful Player® spirit Mark openly accepts and works with the cards life dealt him. In an interview with the New York Times, Mark recently said the following, referring to his battle with Ewing’s sarcoma while at Boston College, “If I’m going to start hypothetical, I could go back to ‘what if I didn’t get cancer? That’s no way to be.”
As a Boston College football player, he had just earned the status of ACC Defensive Player of the Year and All American player when he first felt the pain on his knee. The three-time team MVP did not take the pain as a warning of the upcoming disaster. By the start of the season, however, the pain was not only was unbearable but also affected his prime football skills of running, speed and lifting. An MRI proved the unthinkable. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma.
E.S. is a relatively rare cancer with limited options of treatment. The prognosis was gloomy; even if the removal was successful Mark was informed that he wouldn’t be able to walk again.
Mark decided not to sit back and let despair win. ESPN had predicted him to be high in the NFL draft – and a projected top-15 pick by many scouts. Mark leaned into his support team, starting with his family and best friends, and he accepted a very unorthodox method of treatment, radiation. Focused on the goal on being an NFL player, he faced the odds and worked right through the treatment, and today, Mark Herzlich is living his dream. On July 26, 2011, Mark Herzlich signed as an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants!
Mark Herzlich overcame all odds. For his courage and selfless outreach to others, Mark has been widely recognized. The mother of a cancer stricken child recently wrote to him, saying, “Mark, thank you very much for taking the time to eat lunch with us for making Josh’s wish come true!”His numerous awards include the Disney Spirit Award, the Nils V. “Swede” Nelson Award, an honorary Lott Trophy and the ACC Commissioner’s Cup, as well as the Rudy Award and the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award. Mark also won the “Most Courageous Athlete” award from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association.
Mark is a true inspiration to others and embodies the Insightful Player® spirit in so many ways. He wrote on his Facebook page:“Two years ago I was told I might never walk again. I just walked off the plane in Indy to play in the Super Bowl. Take that, cancer.”
Until next time,
Chrissy Carew Founder of Insightful Player, LLC
PS: The Insightful Player® Game on Lifeville is full of Life Lessons from NFL Players… what better role models for the kids of today than Professional Athletes… they are inspiring our youth! To play the game, go to: http://www.lifeville.com/games/insightful-player-game
For more information on Mark Herzlich and to read the entire New York Times article referenced above, please go to http://bit.ly/NYT-Mark or to ESPN at http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/ncf/news/story?id=5870443.