ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - High school football started back up over the weekend, and it also marked the return of Cretin-Derham Hall junior Casey O’Brien, who is battling a much more serious opponent away from the game.
O'Brien didn't let anything hold him back on the field Saturday -- not even cancer. After battling bone cancer just 2 years ago, he's now in the middle of a battle with lung cancer. But this weekend, football proved to be the perfect medicine as he returned to the field in the Raiders' 21-12 win over Lakeville South.
"We didn't know if we would ever see this from when he was diagnosed,” said his father, Dan O’Brien. “There has never been anybody with his injury, his cancer, that's played football."
Gophers football coach Jerry Kill was in attendance, rooting for Casey.
"Casey is like family to all of us,” Kill said. “To see him out here and doing what he's doing, it's an example for all of us to see how strong this young man really is."
The fight on the field ended when the clock hit zero on Saturday, but the one away from football continues for Casey.
"He has chemo next week and his doctors said when he feels healthy enough he can go,” Dan said. “About midseason they'll do surgery on his left lung to clean that out, and when they do that on his left lung that will probably be it for the season. We are hopeful that tonight is his first game of the season, and certainly not his last."