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Sports provide a fertile field for comeback stories. And one recently told by Bismarck Tribune, is worth celebrating on the court and in the surgical suite. The Tribune profiles Bismarck's Century High School varsity basketball player Luke Leingang, who returned to the court this year after being treated for a tumor at Mayo Clinic back in 2012.
It all started with neck pain and “tingling” sensation in the arm that the family tells the newspaper they thought might have been caused by a “pinched nerve or bunched disk.” But after a trip to the doctor and an MRI, it became clear that more was going on. “The tumor was an osteoblastoma, which means that it was a bone tumor,” Luke tells the Tribune. “When they found (the tumor), it had already eaten away at most of my C5 vertebra.”
Luke’s pediatrician scheduled an appointment at Mayo Clinic the next day with a pediatric neurologist who specializes in “central nervous system tumors.” Luke’s mom, Colleen, tells the Tribune, “As we drove through the night to get there, I just kept thinking I couldn’t believe this was happening to our family,” she says. “We were scared.” Thankfully, doctors were able to successfully remove his tumor, and Luke has been able to resume many of his activities. Contact sports were out, but Luke began training with goal of playing basketball and baseball. “We felt very lucky once the worst of it was over, and Luke was getting back to himself,” his mom tells the Tribune.
And while the paper reports that normalcy will continue to be interrupted every two years for more MRIs to make sure Luke’s cancer doesn’t make a comeback, the family remains grateful Luke has been able to get back in the game. “To this day, words cannot express how thankful we are to the doctors and nurses who cared for him at Mayo,” she tells the Tribune. “Also, the support we received from our family and friends was absolutely incredible. I will never forget it.”
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