Early Tuesday morning, former FSU football head coach Bobby Bowden revealed that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer while with the Seminoles in 2007. He received treatment for the cancer and is currently cancer-free, but he kept his diagnosis a secret for fear other teams would use the knowledge against Florida State.
Cancer is scary business no matter who you are or what type of cancer you're dealing with, so it always brings a smile to my face whenever I hear of someone that successfully conquered that mountain. And Bowden has decided to participate in "On The Line", a nationwide prostate cancer education initiative, which makes him automatically awesome in my mind.
But holy cow, there are some ridiculous aspects to this story. Some of Bowden's quotes absolutely pulled me up short:
"I did not understand the significance of prostate cancer back then," Bowden said in an interview with USA TODAY . "What I knew was when something like that happens to a coach and your opponents find out about it, the first thing they say is 'Don't go to Florida State, Coach Bowden is about to die.'"
College teams actually do this? And this is considered, ya know, okay? I can understand the strategy from a recruiting perspective, but it's still a horrible way to capitalize off someone else's misfortune. If a coach is concerned that he can't reveal his diagnosis for fear other teams will expoit it, that just doesn't seem like a healthy system to me.
But how in the world did Bowden keep this diagnosis a secret for so long? That's another good story:
"We made up a fictitious name, brought him into the hospital at midnight, went right into the operating room, and then rolled him into a secure part of the hospital for his recovery," Camps [Bowden's oncologist] said. "The procedure lasted about 45 minutes and we discharged him by five in the morning. But I am absolutely stunned this has remained secret for so long."
As much as I want to continue to be frustrated that Bowden had to go to such lengths to keep his diagnosis secret, that actually sounds pretty cool. "Prostate Cancer, the undercover ops edition." I'm having fun right now imagining them discharging Bowden from the hospital in a camouflaged wheelchair.
Anyway, the important thing is that Bowden is healthy today. But man, this story does give me pause when thinking about NCAA recruiting practices.
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