11/08/2013 4:09 PM
Tyler Coleman of Westchester University (NCAA D2) will never forget the journey he took his freshman year. Just before the teams pre-season trip to West Virginia State University, Coleman felt a lump on the left side of his neck that doctors wanted biopsied. The first test results came back negative and Coleman was cleared to go Orlando, FL for the Westchester University spring training trip. During his first ever college at bat, his mother Diane got the call that the final slides of his test results showed that Tyler had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. That one at bat was Tyler’s only at bat for the 2012 season in which Westchester University went on to win the 2012 NCAA National Championship. After the game the family immediately flew home to find out what sort of treatment steps needed to be taken. The doctors arranged for him to begin staging tests and treatment at University of Pennsylvania and he had surgery to insert a mediport for chemotherapy. “I responded well to chemo but had some adverse effects so I had to finish treatment with 15 radiation treatments. All thru my treatment, my team was winning in the PSAC. I was allowed to be in the dugout for home games, but was not allowed to travel with the team”, said Coleman.
The day after Westchester University won the national title, Coleman had surgery to remove the port in his chest that received the chemo. After a successful chemotherapy, Coleman returned to the diamond in the summer of 2012 for the Quakertown Blazers in the ACBL (Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League) while still undergoing radiation treatments. “Playing through radiation was difficult since the treatment burnt my throat, made me exhausted, and was difficult having to drive to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia every morning before games. Overall, it was worth it since I finally was back on the field after four months of treatment”, said Coleman.
This season Tyler will play left field for Westchester University and will also play this coming summer in the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League for the Palm Beach Blazers. “I learned that you should never take your health for granted. Every day I wake up and I am thankful that I am able to play baseball. Also, having such a supportive team helped me through the entire process, and made me feel a part of a great season that led to us winning the national championship even though I was unable to contribute physically. My doctors now check my blood and give me a CAT or PET scan every 4 months and I feel fine. The experience made me appreciate everything more.”