A month after taking a leave of absence to undergo treatments for a form of cancer, Alabama athletic director Bill Battle is ready to get back to work.
The school announced Thursday that Battle has completed his latest round of treatment for multiple myeloma and feels “great.” In a release, the school said Battle will first return to work “on a limited basis,” but will return “soon.”
Battle began stem cell treatment at The Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Center at Emory University in Atlanta on June 27 and was released from the hospital on July 8. Battle was given the go-ahead to return home to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday.
Since his release from the hospital, Battle had been recovering at his son’s home in Marietta, Georgia.
“I have completed this latest phase of my fight against multiple myeloma, and the outcome was extremely positive,” Battle said in a statement. “My wife, Mary, a licensed oncology nurse, has been an amazing force in every stage of this fight over the last two years. I was fortunate to get early detection, aggressive treatment by the best doctors, and entered this recent phase in reasonably good physical shape. All of those factors were vital to this positive outcome. However, maybe the most important factor has been the outpouring of thoughts and prayers from around the country. It has been overwhelming, and Mary and I are most appreciative.
“At this time, multiple myeloma is incurable but is very treatable. Great progress has been made over the past few years and more is expected in the future. Longer life and better quality of life is expected from those with early detection, with good fitness levels, and the autologous transplant. The transplant process pretty much wipes out the bone marrow and the immune system temporarily, but rapidly regrows. The risk for infections diminishes over time and as the patient recovers from the process.”
Battle, 73, was first diagnosed in the spring of 2014 after a small tumor was found on his vertebrae. The tumor was monitored from then and Battle underwent chemotherapy in 2015 after “a couple of spots” were noticed during a subsequent checkup.
Battle is in his fourth year at Alabama. He was hired in March 2013.
Battle played football for the Crimson Tide in the early 1960’s under Bear Bryant and went on to become the head coach at Tennessee from 1970-1976. Battle went into business after his time at Tennessee.
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