Minnesota Holder Casey O'Brien Says on Twitter He's Survived Cancer for 5th Time

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 10, 2020

Minnesota Golden Gophers punter Casey O'Brien (14) holds the ball for an extra point kick during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Rutgers Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Sarah Stier)
Sarah Stier/Associated Press

Minnesota walk-on holder Casey O'Brien announced on Twitter that he has survived cancer for the fifth time:

Casey O'Brien @caseyob14

LAST DAY OF CHEMO! 5x Survivor.....God has taken care of me again! Surrounded by all my HERO doctors and nurses. Thankful to be treated at the best hospital in the country @UMNChildrens. Can’t wait to go play football. 💪🏻✝️🎗#5x #RTB @GopherFootball https://t.co/uZpvLb2mNr

Per the Minnesota football team website, O'Brien was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at 13 years old. He played quarterback before his cancer diagnosis but stayed on the football field as a holder through high school.

The two-time Academic All-Big Ten member and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar played in two games during the 2019 season. He held for three extra-point attempts against Rutgers (42-7 win) and Maryland (52-10 victory). All six extra points were good.

The Golden Gophers finished 11-2 and capped their season with an Outback Bowl victory against Auburn.

The Saint Paul, Minnesota, native was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after making his collegiate debut versus Rutgers.

Per Garrett Stepien of 247Sports, O'Brien "overcame roughly 15 surgeries along his journey to Minnesota walk-on holder." He had a full left knee replacement and underwent many rounds of chemotherapy.

"Three-hundred nights in the hospital, surgeries, chemo, everything like that—I just kind of walk in myself through my life and everything that went into being in this moment," O'Brien said to ESPN's College GameDay last year.

The redshirt junior is set to begin his third season as a Golden Gopher Sept. 3 vs. Florida Atlantic.


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