Budding young football player Jordan Sabio wanted nothing more than to get on the field and play football for De La Salle, but cancer derailed his game plan.
Even after treatment and surgery, Sabio still faces some medical challenges. But two teams have come together to make sure he makes it onto the football field.
“The scar, it’s kind of open just a little bit,” Sabio tells WDSU. “It goes all the way probably to about right here.”
If you want to see tough, take a look at Sabio. Playing defense is one thing, tackling osteosarcoma, a vicious bone cancer, is something else.
WDSU’s Heath Allen first met Sabio while he was throwing football from his wheelchair. It was just before the surgery that removed the cancerous tumor from his leg.
“I think ever since they did the surgery, I think like it kind of gave me confidence to start walking again,” Sabio said. “That way I can just go outside and be with my friends and do what I did before.”
“They have this very big surgery and afterwards a lot of them, because of the chemotherapy we give them, can have wound infections and just have poor wound healing,” hematologist-oncologist Dr. Pinki Prasad said. “He has actually had both of those problems.”
But Sabio is a tough, young man who has made up his mind to play football at De La Salle, even when cancer sent him to the sidelines.
“He picked De La Salle and chose me and I chose him and we’re going to stick together forever,” De La Salle head football coach Ryan Manale said.
Manale, in fact the entire De La Salle football team, embraced Sabio and took him into the Cavalier family. He’s yet to set foot on the field, but he already has a spot in the locker room.
“I can’t wait (until) he comes this summer where I can start working with him on the field,” Manale said. “Start teaching him some X’s and O’s you know, he’s going to be a 9th grade coach, so it’s going to be pretty special to watch.”
“I heard! He’s very excited,” Prasad said. “He’s very excited!”
Manale, already impressed with Sabio’s passion and desire, has plans for him and it’s more than just football.
“They said probably during the summer they might like, help me out with going to the locker room with them and talk with the team and try to help them,” Sabio said.
It’s all about family for Sabio. The Children’s Hospital is determined to make him well and the De La Salle family is ready to turn a tough break into tough love.
It’s only the beginning for Sabio.Â