EAGAN, Minn. - There are many who believe football is a great teacher of life lessons -- from discipline to teamwork to perseverance.
It's why Eagan junior Brandon Carl has loved the game since third grade. He says he relishes the competition, loves his teammates and is proud of the school he represents. So, imagine the life lesson he learned when all of that was nearly taken away.
"May 16th was my official diagnosis day. I had testicular cancer," Brandon said. "They suggested chemo and I was like, 'Yeah, I have a long life to live, why not?'"
Brandon approached cancer like a defensive lineman in the trenches on a Friday night. He wasn't going to back down or give in.
After two rounds of chemotherapy and surgeries, his prognosis is good. Football was his inspiration. Brandon says all he could think about during a tough summer was to be on the field on the opening day of practice. His determination to feel better and join his teammates paid off.
"Day 1 came and he was there and always positive," said Eagan football coach Rick Sutton.
Sutton is a believer in life lessons through football. He says the Wildcats Tackle Cancer game in October will mean much more because now his players and coaches see every day how precious life is.
"When it hits someone who is 16-years-old, for other 16, 17 year olds to see that obviously really makes it come home. We don't know what's going to happen next, and we have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to fight our way through the adversity that comes," said Sutton.
Brandon is now battling for a starting job on the offensive line and looking forward to a successful season. Cancer will always be part of his life and right now, life is good. "I don't know, it's just happy, happy every day," Brandon said. "You get to live."
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