Auburn football signee optimistic amid battle with cancer

Published: May. 19, 2016 at 1:04 AM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2016 at 2:14 AM CDT
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(Source: Jan Foster)
(Source: Jan Foster)
(Source: Jan Foster)
(Source: Jan Foster)
(Source: Jan Foster)
(Source: Jan Foster)

AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - The football recruiting process can be quite the journey. For offensive lineman and Griffin, Georgia native Brodarious Hamm, the decision was always Auburn.

"When he was a little kid we always knew that football was goin [sic] to be his life," said Nicole Williams, Hamm's mother.

"It was always in my heart that I wanted to go to Auburn. The atmosphere, the coaches, it, you know, made me feel like I was already a player," said Hamm.

The journey of recruitment was about to seem miniscule for the 2016 Auburn signee, when he received the news that would change his life.

Nick Davis, Hamm's high school coach at Spalding High School, said he couldn't believe the news when he first heard it.

"When I got the call, it just, it just broke me down," said Davis.

"My life changed that day. Everything as I knew it didn't matter anymore. I started questioning God like 'why my child?'" said Williams.

"I mean I really didn't know what to think. I was just, you know, really I was like why me? But everything happens for a reason," Hamm said.

After finding a knot on the back of his ear followed by one on his neck, they went to a doctor and that's when he got the diagnosis. Stage-two Hodgkins Lymphoma at age 18.

"When he was first diagnosed, I took it hard but you know, that's part of being a mom," Williams said. "But when I saw how well he was handling it, he gave me the strength to push forward and be like 'okay, if this child is actually going through it, I can be just as strong and supportive as he is."

Brodarious has given off an immense amount of strength with some help and motivation from those around him.

"Really, cause [sic] I'm not the only one fighting it you know? I've got a family and coaches behind me and I feel like if they're gonna [sic] be strong, I can be strong too," Hamm said.

"I bought bands for my whole football team in Auburn colors. We're doin [sic] it for Bro! That's our motto for this year," Davis said.

Most 18-year-old kids are enjoying their final days of their senior year, which is exactly what Brodarious wants to be doing. However, with frequent hospital visits and continuous chemo treatments, he has to do his work from home.

"You know, not being able to go to school anymore and stuff like that, but you know, it's alright," Hamm said. "You know, they've been behind me since everything happened. Just, you know, getting help with my work. They're calling and checking on me every day to make sure I'm alright."

"They look up to Brodarious. 'That's Brodarious, 6'5 320 pounds. He's invincible.' They couldn't believe it," Davis said.

No one could believe it. One thing they could believe in was his fight and his strength through the process.

"His drive to not let it defeat him; It really has me," Williams said.

"It's a fight in football. It's a struggle sometimes, but you have to fight through adversity and don't let it settle," Hamm said. "Pretty much though, your cancer doctor is like your coach so do whatever he tells you to do and you'll be successful."

The dream of playing college football is just within reach. The thought of yelling, "War Eagle" is what keeps the hope alive.

"I'd probably start crying. You know, as coaches, we always want big facilities. Everybody likes to get paid. This is why we do what we do. That's it," said Davis while fighting back tears. "We spend so much time away from our families, so much time away from our homes to hope that you're gonna [sic] make a difference through this sport, the game of football that will be life changing."

"I think that's the one thing that keeps him motivated, is to know that he's going to play football again," Williams said.

Hamm is the second 2016 Auburn signee to be diagnosed with cancer after Florida native Tashawn Manning was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia in 2015.

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