Central Valley football standout battling cancer back on the field

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. –For most people, the idea of returning to the field after battling cancer might seem impossible. For former all-league player Brandon Thomas, getting back has always been on this mind. He doesn’t want to just take the field on Friday nights this fall, he wants to make a major impact for the bears, and already has a goal in mind.

In May of 2020, Central Valley High School outside linebacker Thomas had his leg amputated as part of life-saving surgery.  He’d been battling osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer.

“It is harder for me to run and sprint and get all of it down, so yeah it was tough. It was really tough,” said Thomas.

Brandon made the decision 15 months ago to have his leg amputated to stop the spread of cancer, requiring him to wear a prosthetic.  While it turned out to be successful, it was after the surgery he had the lowest point in this journey.

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“Probably the second half of chemo I’d say, after the amputation. It was a little hard to cope with it because I didn’t know, like, if I would be able to do this at all,” Thomas said.

It wasn’t until about three months ago Thomas really thought he could get back on the field and play again, slowly jogging on the prosthetic and training to get his strength back.  All while working with coaches on load management for the amount he can go at full speed.

“It’s amazing, the moment I stepped on the field I felt like I accomplished a lot,” Thomas said.

“To see him close that gap, being able to walk on that leg, being able to run on the leg and all a sudden he’s being able to go full speed on that leg and being cleared for contact was just awesome,” added Head Coach Ryan Butner.

Thomas still isn’t at 100 percent though, which is understandable given the circumstances.  Doctors and physical therapists want him to take some practices off to prevent another stress fracture and allowing him to play in games. Even though the constant obstacles just to take the field for a game next week, he has an audacious goal for the 2021 season

“I want to get 100 tackles, my friend Luke, my best friend Luke, quarterback, said he’d give me 100 bucks if I got a 100 tackles so let’s try it,” said Brandon.

Thomas was able to share some good news with us earlier this week. He just had his three-month scan and the results came back negative, and he’ll have his next one in November.  Once he hits the year mark the visits to the doctor will move to every six months.

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