Brandt Morgan, Devian Parker-Rogers show ‘Heart of a Giant’

Brandt Morgan, Jericho High School (NY).

Morgan’s life changed when he felt a click in his throat.

As he stepped out of the shower back in his sophomore year, he saw three golf ball-sized masses staring at him in the mirror. During the examination, it took the doctor two seconds to realize that a biopsy had to be performed. The results came back as lymphoblastic lymphoma, an aggressive and rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“I had no idea what it would do to me,” he said.

Diagnosed on November 23, 2020, Morgan began a grueling marathon of treatments, procedures and unfortunate setbacks that kept him in the hospital for months. During his chemotherapy he developed neuropathy which caused him to lose feeling from the waist down. Instead of training for his college years, Morgan had to learn to walk again.

“I just couldn’t feel what I was walking on,” Morgan said. “They took my toe and told me to close my eyes and tell them which way to point my toe – up, down or sideways. I just had no idea what they were doing. And that was pretty crazy, especially for my mother, just having to watch everything, because my mother is my rock in all of this. So I had to learn to walk again and put myself in the right frame of mind.”

Morgan said he would wake up every hour with an understandable question: “Why me?” Once he got past that stage, things started to improve.

“At some point I had to think through my head that this happened to me,” he said. “I have no choice. All I have to do is just push and force myself to do what I can do. I have to forget my friends right now and forget what they are doing. They do their my own thing. I can’t think about what I’m missing. I just need to focus on getting my life back.”

“He never stopped fighting,” his mother Abby said. “He had a mission. One mission was to play football. He’s just loved by everyone. He’s the kid everyone wants to help. When I saw him take his first step and his first run and his first jog and his first lift saw , he always says, ‘why are you crying mama?’ I would say I’m crying because I’m so happy and so proud of you. You walked today. You ran. You kicked. You did more today than you did yesterday. He never complained no matter what was going on .”

Just as he was beginning to return to normal, he hit rock bottom again.

Before his final chemo cycle, Morgan was in the worst pain of his life while his temperature soared to 103 degrees. He was diagnosed with Listeria, an infection caused by his weakened immune system. He also suffered from appendicitis and was told he would have to stay in the hospital for another month.

Morgan offered a compromise.

“I told them there was a zero percent chance I’d be hospitalized again,” he said. “The only way I can stay in the hospital is if you guys let me set up my room as a gym and get ready for football season.”

So he came to the conversion. His hospital room contained two TRX systems, weights, a yoga mat, and anything else he could get his hands on. With the IV tube attached to the bottle cap-sized opening in his chest, he worked on his torso. When it was outside, he exercised his legs.

He repeated the cycle until it was time to get back on the football field.

“I never realized how bad I was until first practice when we ran through cones and every cone we ran through I probably fell,” said Morgan. “My balance was just completely off balance.”

He never wanted special treatment from his coaches.

“The fact that I showed up to every single workout when I could barely walk and I was doing all these exercises, I was like, ‘You don’t treat me any differently. I don’t care what I’ve been through “I don’t care what I look like right now. That’ll be me back. I know I’m not No. 1 anymore, but I need it.” [to be] If you yell at a person, you yell at me the same way. I don’t want to be treated any differently.”

However, Morgan didn’t do all the work for practice. He had something bigger in mind.

After his team scored a touchdown at home with 1:30 left, he received the call to play in his first game since feeling that lump in his throat.

“I just go out on the field and I’ve missed it so much,” he said. “Every single thing I worked for in the hospital, every single fight I went through — and still went through walking on the field; That game was three days after I had a spinal tap – I wasn’t thinking about anything but getting back on the field.”

As he slowly regains his life, Morgan recently had his chemoport removed and no longer needed the special protection he designed to fit his shoulder pads. He’s in the middle of summer training and has a chance to be the quarterback again.

Morgan has also created a website called Comeback Kids to support others who have been diagnosed with cancer at a young age. Find out more by clicking HERE.

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