Michigan lineman returns from testicular cancer three months after second surgery

Ben Rohrbach

Just a guess, but knees to the groin don't usually save lives.

Brandon Mitchell overcame testicular cancer to return to football -- Detroit News
Brandon Mitchell overcame testicular cancer to return to football -- Detroit News

But when Warren (Mich.) Lincoln High senior two-sport star Brandon Mitchell received a patella to the package during wrestling practice, he rushed to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., where he was initially diagnosed with an abdominal bruise.

Somehow, he wrestled in the next meet, but when the pain persisted, he sought a second opinion from his family doctor, which ultimately revealed a cancerous tumor in his right testicle, according to a fantastic Detroit News feature on Mitchell's battle.

"I was really scared. The first thing I thought about is my football career ended," Mitchell told Detroit News prep sports guru Tom Markowski. "I was like, 'Why me?'"

A 2012 Detroit Free Press Honorable Mention All-Eastern Michigan lineman in football as a junior, Mitchell started 2-0 (both pins) wrestling at 285 pounds this past December. Two weeks after his second victory, he underwent surgery to remove a testicle.

"I knew from Day 1 he’d overcome this and be the person you have confidence in," Mitchell's friend, Warren Lincoln senior quarterback Darius Totty, told The Detroit News. "His heart is still strong. His mind is still strong."

In January, Mitchell began chemotherapy, but another tumor formed in his abdomen that required a second surgery on May 29, according to the feature. “You could actually feel the tumor,” Mitchell’s mother, Stacey, told the paper. “And my son’s a big guy.”

Regardless, Mitchell defeated the disease, and doctors cleared him last month to return to the field, where he recorded 53 tackles and nine sacks last season. Albeit 30 pounds lighter, he started the opener against Warren (Mich.) Woods-Tower High last week.

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