New England Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder played the 2014 NFL season after being diagnosed with testicular cancer one year ago, he revealed Tuesday to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. Solder was diagnosed last April, calling it “a complete surprise,” given he had no family history of the disease and felt healthy at the time he was told of the illness.
Solder’s cancer did not spread beyond one testicle, which he had surgically removed. He then played the full 2014 season, starting every game, ultimately reaching and winning the Super Bowl. Solder credited a routine team physical for revealing the cancer, when he told a team doctor about an abnormality with his testicle. Three days later, Solder underwent surgery.
He missed a few of the Patriots’ OTAs but otherwise spent no significant time away from the team. Though doctors were, in Solder’s words, “super cautious,” he was able to rejoin the Patriots by the end of June.
Solder is speaking out because April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, and he wants his experience to help others who may not be aware they could be ill.
“I was completely healthy, I’m a professional athlete. It can happen to anybody. Make sure you get yourself checked out, especially young men, because that’s who it’s really targeted toward.”
Every three month, Solder is given CT scans and X-rays to make sure the cancer has not returned. So far, he’s received a clean bill of health. Now, he’s trying to help raise awareness of the disease. His ultimate message?
“The biggest thing is letting people know and giving them the information. And maybe giving people some courage that if they are in a situation like I was, maybe they would go and say something, and that could make a difference.”
Photo: USA Today Sports