James Conner, Pittsburgh RB, Diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 4, 2015

Jul 20, 2015; Pinehurst, NC, USA;  Pittsburgh Panthers player James Conner speaks to the media during the ACC football kickoff at Pinehurst Resort. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh junior running back James Conner has been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. 

Per Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Conner announced he had the disease Friday at a press conference. 

Jerry DiPaola of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Conner has Stage 2 lymphoma in his neck and chest with a six-month treatment set to begin Dec. 8.

According to medical personnel at the press conference, per Werner, the cure rate for Conner's lymphoma is "between 85-95 percent."

Conner is taking a positive stance, per Werner, saying, "We’re going to fight this, we’re going to beat this thing.” He also vowed to get back on the football field again, according to DiPaola:

Pittsburgh's football team gave Conner a signed team ball during his first round of chemo therapy, per family friend Mike Gallagher:

The ACC Digital Network Twitter account provided a quote from Conner, which can serve as a mission statement for the 20-year-old during treatment:

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Conner also took to Instagram following the announcement:

Pittsburgh will help pay for all out-of-pocket costs that are not covered by Conner's family insurance, according to Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh-Gazette

Hodgkin lymphoma is the same disease Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry was diagnosed with last December after feeling chest pains during a game against Oakland. 

The 26-year-old finished his treatment in July and was cleared to practice with the Chiefs. He played his first game Aug. 15 in the preseason against Arizona and has appeared in all 11 of Kansas City's regular-season games thus far.

Dr. Stanley Marks said he is "hopeful" Conner will be able to return to the field for Pitt in 2016, per Werner

Conner even discussed Berry during his press conference, saying it would be "cool" to talk to the Chiefs safety, per Werner

Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi spoke at the press conference as well, saying Conner received his diagnosis on Thanksgiving and adding his running back will recover, per Werner:

This was a difficult season for Conner. He played in just one game before suffering a season-ending knee injury that required surgery. He was one of the nation's best running backs in 2014, racking up 1,765 rushing yards in 13 games. 

Conner's Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis may be a setback, but fortunately, his doctors sound optimistic about treatment and a recovery.

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