Alabama AD Bill Battle to take leave for cancer treatment

Dr. Saturday
(AP Photo/Dave Martin)
(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Alabama athletic director Bill Battle will spend a few weeks away from the university.

The school announced Tuesday that Battle, 73, has multiple myeloma, a treatable form of cancer. Battle was first diagnosed in March 2014 and has been privately undergoing treatments since then while continuing to work. An upcoming stem cell transplant will “keep him away from the office for a few weeks,” the school said.

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“In the spring of 2014, I was diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer," Battle said in a statement. "Subsequent to that diagnosis my wife, Mary, and I visited with doctors at The University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center; University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas; the Lewis and Faye Manderson Cancer Center at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa; and the Winship Cancer Institute to determine the best treatment options.

“I am very comfortable with the diagnosis and treatment plan. I am looking forward to getting this behind me and continuing my active lifestyle, as well as continuing to lead our Athletics Department. My experience has made it clear to me that cancer can be a treatable disease that can be dealt with while maintaining a high quality of life.”

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His stem cell treatment, which is set to begin Wednesday, will take place at The Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Center at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta. The school says Battle is still in “excellent” health, and the AD told TideSports.com he is in “partial remission.”

Though he won’t be in Tuscaloosa, Battle plans to continue working.

“I will be in touch by e-mail every day. I will be in direct contact with our senior administrators on a daily basis, and I expect to be back in the office later this summer. My doctors say that I will be able to keep working for years, for as long as I want to,” he told TideSports.com.

Battle learned of his condition during a physical back in early 2014 after a small tumor was found on his vertebrae. It was closely monitored and “a couple of spots” were found following a spring 2015 checkup, which prompted three rounds of chemotherapy treatment.

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"He is barely Stage 1 right now," his wife Mary Battle, an oncology nurse, told TideSports. "His overall good health has been an important part of this, just as it is in any health care situation. With all the advances in recent years, cancer is becoming more and more of a chronic disease instead of a crisis."

Added Bill Battle: "I feel great. My prognosis is good. The doctors all believe this will be successful."

Battle is in his fourth year as Alabama’s AD after accepting the job in March 2013. 

For more Alabama news, visit TideSports.com.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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