Ron Rivera cancer: What sort of cancer did Commanders HC have?

Ron Rivera’s journey with the Washington Commanders goes beyond his on-field duty to guide the players, as he once had to battle with cancer. Like he led the commanders to battle with the opponents bravely, he himself once dominantly defeated cancer.

Nevertheless, soon after Josh Harris took ownership of the Commanders from Dan Snyder, the head coach is now vying to cope with his goal to change the culture of the Commanders team by drawing inspiration from the battle he fought to get rid of cancer.

What cancer did Ron Rivera have?

The head coach faced a challenging road ahead when he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma cancer in August 2020 during his inaugural training camp with the Commanders, per ESPN.

The cancer had infiltrated a lymph node in his neck, prompting an aggressive approach to eliminate it. The 63-year-old coach underwent 35 proton therapy sessions and endured three cycles of chemotherapy within a compressed two-month timeframe. 

Remarkably, amidst the physical and mental toll of cancer treatment, Rivera did not miss a game during the 2020 NFL season.

Throughout this period, his family provided unwavering support, helping him stay mentally resilient. Fans, too, rallied behind Rivera to express their solidarity through an outpouring of letters and notes.

Following his victory over the disease, Rivera redirected his focus towards advocating for proton therapy. His journey, from being a continuous force on the football field to overcoming cancer, has led some to suggest that he should consider chronicling his remarkable story in a book.

Ron Rivera discussed the post-cancer toll on his body

While he has triumphed over cancer, Ron Rivera continues to grapple with the lingering effects of the treatments, revealing the toll it has taken on his daily life.

Rivera openly shared the ongoing struggles he faces post-cancer treatment, particularly during late-afternoon activities. He mentioned the difficulties in staying alert during certain meetings and experiencing occasional headaches.

“If I get active during practice, the late afternoon is hard, it’s hard to stay awake in [some] meetings. Every now and then I get a dull headache and I have to close my eyes.”

The team of players and managers stood by their head coach unconditionally during his fight against cancer. The collective effort to lift Rivera’s spirits culminated in a heartwarming surprise. They surprised him by honoring his one-year negative biopsy test with a video tribute and a donation.

The video tribute showcased poignant moments, including Rivera ringing a bell at the hospital to mark the conclusion of his cancer treatment. The emotional impact of the tribute was palpable, leaving Rivera visibly moved. In response, he expressed his gratitude to the team, recognizing the profound connection that extends beyond the football field.

“As a coach, you always wonder if you can get the chance to get through to the players and touch them. This was awesome. Thank you, guys,” Rivera said, acknowledging the meaningful gesture from his team.

Now, the Washington Commanders are reportedly preparing to part ways with their head coach, and reports suggest Bill Belichick as Rivera’s potential replacement. Nevertheless, the potential separation holds deeper significance for Rivera. The team’s support, especially during the challenging days of his cancer battle, became a source of joy and strength.

The impending departure may weigh heavily on Rivera, reflecting on the bond during both triumphs and struggles.

What’s your take on ongoing rumors regarding his last stint with the Commanders?

Shabiha Akter

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Shabiha, once a casual observer, has morphed into a die-hard NFL fan. She carefully dissects every play, trade, and strategy. Whether it's breaking down game highlights or predicting playoff outcomes, Shabiha is your go-to source for all things NFL.


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