Last Updated: 17/07/19 7:26am
James Conner revealed a doctor gave him ‘about a week’ to live
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner revealed he was told he was close to death when diagnosed with cancer as a student at Pitt in 2015.
Speaking on a podcast hosted by former Duke pitcher Mike Seander, Conner said he sought medical attention when he was having trouble sleeping as he recovered from a torn MCL in his junior season.
“I’m rehabbing for that, trying to make a comeback before the season ends,” Conner, 24, said. “And then I’m rehabbing and [stuff and I get] night sweats, bro. I’m getting like 15 minutes of sleep at night, going through it. Sleep, who [doesn’t] love sleep?
“That’s the worst in the world … And so I get some tests done, and I got tumours surrounding my heart … I got tumours growing all around it, and it’s pressing.”
Doctors diagnosed Conner with stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma and found tumours in his neck and chest.
Conner broke out in his sophomore season in the NFL with 1,470 total yards and 13 touchdowns
“The doctor told me I had a week left,” Conner said. “He said: ‘You got about a week. If you [don’t] get this treated, you about a week at the rate it’s growing.’
“I think about that every day.”
After sending cancer into remission and rehabbing his knee, Conner returned to the Panthers in 2016, gaining 1,394 all-purpose yards and scoring 20 touchdowns.
The Steelers selected Conner in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft and after carrying the ball just 32 times as a rookie, he enjoyed a breakout season in 2018, taking over for holdout Le’Veon Bell.
Conner had 973 rushing yards and added 497 receiving yards and 13 scores in his sophomore campaign. He was selected to the Pro Bowl.