Nate Solder is lucky, and he’s hoping to help others be just as fortunate.
The New England Patriots offensive lineman was diagnosed with testicular cancer in April 2014, he revealed to ESPN.com. Solder eventually was treated for the disease before it was able to spread, and he’s now helping to spread awareness.
According to ESPN.com, Solder mentioned something to the Patriots’ medical staff during his annual physical, and an ultrasound was ordered. The cancer was found, and Solder soon underwent surgery.
Solder missed two weeks of action, including part of organized team activities, but he eventually returned to the field, where he was a key part of the Patriots’ Super Bowl championship season.
Now ready to tell his story, Solder is trying to help others by spreading the word of early cancer detection and awareness.
“I knew nothing about it. It was a complete surprise,” the 27-year-old told ESPN.com. “You Google something like that and it kind of scares you, so I was like, ‘I’m not going to freak out about this.’ Had I not had a routine physical, I probably wouldn’t have checked it, saying, ‘Oh, it’s just in my head, I’m going to be fine.’ ”
Solder now is fully healthy and appreciative of continued support from teammates, as he received plenty of text messages from quarterback Tom Brady and others.
“I was completely healthy, I’m a professional athlete. It can happen to anybody,” Solder said. “Make sure you get yourself checked out, especially young men, because that’s who it’s really targeted toward.”
Thumbnail photo via Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports Images