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Chief Zee, a Staple at Washington Redskins Games Since 1978, Hospitalized

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 23:  Washington Redskins fan Chief Zee cheers during the second half of the game against the San Francisco 49ers on October 23, 2005 at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins defeated the 49ers 52-17.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Josh McCainSenior Writer IJanuary 11, 2011

Zema Williams, better known to football fans as Chief Zee, has been hospitalized for a cyst on his spine, several area bloggers report.

Chief Zee has been dressing up in a Native American headdress and red jacket at Redskins games since September 5, 1978.

I know most fans have varying memories of him, but mine come from Super Bowl XVII, where NFL Films captured him yelling, "Crank up that Diesel, Rom Rom, Let's go Diesel." NFL Films shows the clip right before John "The Diesel" Riggins' historic 4th-and-1 run that catapulted the Redskins to the franchise's first Super Bowl victory.

Even though it is not publicly known what kind of cyst Chief Zee has, my quick research on WebMd theorizes that it is probably a Tarlov cyst, which is the most common cyst that can grow on the spine. Tarlov cysts fill with fluid and their symptoms may not ever be felt, but can range from minor discomfort to loss of bladder and bowel control.

Treatment can include surgical draining or drugs. 

Tarlov cysts aren't known to cause anything more than discomfort and are not fatal. 

Still, I know we all hope for a speedy recovery for Chief Zee.

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