Pittsburgh Panthers running back James Conner was back on the practice field for the first time since he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
If college football had a comeback player of the year award like the NFL, it’s becoming quite clear that the winner would be Pitt running back James Conner.
Conner was already working his way back to health after a torn MCL in the Panthers season opener before a cancer diagnosis was revealed in early December that the 2014 ACC Player of the Year was fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said last week that Conner would beat cancer and he will play for the Panthers in 2016.
Conner took his first steps toward returning when he took part in his first practice since the diagnosis and since his knee surgery.
Narduzzi posted this video of Conner going through a drill with his teammates cheering JC on.
After the practice, Conner took to his twitter account to say it was a bit sloppy the first time back on the practice field but vowed to be in great shape come game day.
Conner was among the nation’s leaders in rushing yards in 2014 when he ran for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns but he won’t have to replicate those numbers again in 2016 to show he’s a winner and one of the best examples of toughness and resiliency.
“He is such an inspiration,” Narduzzi told FOX Sports . “Our kids see him, and whenever they feel like they’re tired and or life’s getting tough, they look at him and see what he’s doing. The guy doesn’t want to pull back on anything. He’s such an unbelievable kid.”
Conner is still undergoing chemotherapy and Narduzzi told Fox Sports he’ll be accompanying Conner for his latest round of chemo on Monday. Knowing what we know about Conner, he’ll be attacking that session with the same intensity and focus since the initial diagnosis.
Like Narduzzi said, Conner is an inspiration, and not only to his coaches, teammates and the Pitt community. Conner is an inspiration to everyone fighting cancer because he’s showing them that you don’t need to let a cancer diagnosis stop you from living your life and doing the things you love the most.
Stuart Scott said at the ESPY’s two years ago when he was fighting cancer that would later claim his life that you beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.
Conner is beating cancer.