Ron Rivera's doctors were surprised by how much he coached during treatment

Ethan Cadeaux
·3 min read

Rivera's doctors were surprised by his workload during treatment originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

For the past two months, Ron Rivera has had to balance being the head coach of the Washington Football Team while also undergoing cancer treatment.

After having multiple treatment sessions each week since late August, Rivera finished his final chemotherapy session for squamous cell carcinoma on Monday. An incredible feat by itself, Rivera finished his treatment without ever missing a game, too.

During an interview with Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday, Rivera said his doctors admitted they were surprised by how much he was able to coach while battling cancer these past two months.

"One thing they told me was, 'If you can, go back to work. Go back to work and do what you can at work.' I didn't realize how few people really go back to work and try to work a full schedule," Rivera said. "I was trying to do the best I can because I didn't want to be that guy that didn't do it.

"Then I come to my doctors yesterday and find out what I did was the omen's work. I work a little bit more, they were surprised. They really were. They said, 'Listen, coach. You really took it to the next level.' I said, 'That's great. I didn't realize it.' So I kind of pushed myself."

While Rivera was able to coach during treatment, he said it wasn't an easy process for him.

Rivera then went into detail, telling a story of how he had a rough few days during the middle of his treatment, a stretch that forced his doctor to get on his case for him not taking care of himself.

"I wasn't feeling good and we had lost the previous Sunday and I felt like we could have won, so I did a little bit of extra work," Rivera said. "That wore me down, and I hadn't eaten in like a day and a half, which really isn't good. So Stephanie told the doctor, and he got on me."

Then, the rest of Rivera's family chimed in.

"Then Stephanie followed up, she read me the Riot Act," Rivera said. "Then Courtney came over, our daughter who's been helping me, she gets all over my case and she walks out. Then the dog came over and nudged me and he walked away. I'm all by myself, realizing I've been berated by my family because I wasn't taking care of me."

The whole process made Rivera extremely grateful for the healthcare he received. The head coach knows he's fortunate to receive some of the best medical care in the world and wishes other people in America can experience the same.

"Our healthcare system is tremendous," Rivera said. "For us to be the richest nation in the world and not have healthcare for everybody, good healthcare, that's a sad shame."

By being the head coach of the Football Team, Rivera knows he has a prominent place in society in Washington. Despite the team's lack of victories lately, the city unquestionably remains a football town.

Rivera hopes he can use his status to help make an impact on getting healthcare for all.

"I'm going to become an advocate for that. I want to be connected in the right way," he said. "Since we're so close to Capitol Hill, maybe I can add a voice to that and help our folks."