HAD A LESSON FOR BRUNO
cancer. Receiver plays like it's his last game
Bruno: plays with heart
Arpon Basu, Montreal Gazette,
Frank Bruno's eyes
lit up when he saw a fumble hit the ground five years ago. He
picked it up and started running for the end zone, as he did so
many times before while playing midget football for the Lakeshore
But then, suddenly,
the Kirkland resident dropped to the ground, and football took
a back seat to life.
."I just fell because
I couldn't breathe," Bruno, 19, recalled. "I was a little
concerned after the game, so my mom took me to the hospital and they
found a tumour between my heart and my lung."
Bruno was relieved to hear
the doctors say the tumour wasn't cancerous and that they could remove
it relatively easily. But once they did, Bruno got the devastating news
that he had Hodgkin's disease, a form of cancer that attacks the body's
lymph glands, which make up part of the immune system.
"It was a shock,
just unbelievable," Bruno said. "It was hard. I thought
I would never play football again, but I always hoped I could
come back and show everyone I could still play ball."
Did he ever.
Play he did, but only
after his coaches converted him from running back to receiver,
a move that has paid huge dividends for Bruno.
Last season, Bruno
broke a 23-year-old collegiate Triple-A league record for receiving
yards with 968 on 52 catches, helping Vanier snap a 15-year drought
with a Bol d'Or championship.
More recently, Bruno
was the offensive captain for the Canadian squad that brought
home its third straight NFL Global Junior Championship during
Super Bowl week in Miami, and he committed Sunday to play next
season for the Université de Montréal Carabins.
set a league record for pass receiving yards
It's hard to imagine that
a mere three years ago Bruno was wondering where he stood in terms of
his football future, but he says the life experience of beating cancer
is what makes him so effective on the field.
"When we won the Global
Junior Championship, I took five minutes to myself," Bruno said.
"I always dreamed of playing for Team Canada. At 16, finding out
I had cancer, I told myself I would make it anyway, and I did.
and his fellow Team Canada mates celebrate their
Global Junior Championships win in Florida on February 3rd
I gained from that whole experience is not to take life for granted,
or even football for that matter. One play, I'm picking up a football
and running it into the end zone, and the next play, I'm sitting
out for two years. I think that's why I'm so good at football,
because I'm aggressive
and I take every play like it's my last one, because tomorrow,
there may not be football any more."
Gazette (Montreal) 2007
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