BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU safety Greg Brooks has been diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer, his family and the hospital caring for him announced Wednesday.
Brooks had emergency surgery three weeks ago to remove a tumor between his cerebellum and brainstem.
“Greg’s speech and ability to communicate has been impacted, and although he is responsive and working daily with physical therapy, he will face months of intensive rehabilitation,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake Health. “The surgery was successful in removing the tumor, and there is no evidence that the cancer has spread.”
Brooks, who grew up in the New Orleans area, started 13 games for the Tigers last season, when he intercepted two passes to go with a sack, a forced fumble and three tackles for losses. He finished that season with five passes defended and 66 solo or assisted tackles.
Brooks also played in the first two games this season.
LSU coach Brian Kelly and Tigers players have been visiting Brooks periodically since the defensive back’s surgery.
“He’s able to respond to commands,” Kelly said, noting that Brooks gave a thumbs-up the last time he visited with some teammates. “So, we’re getting those little acknowledgements that makes us feel better as we get a chance to see him.”
Kelly also commended the support Brooks has received from the community and LSU fans at large but cautioned, “this is a long battle.”
O’Neal said that as Brooks begins rehab in the coming weeks, his family and care team will consult “nationally recognized specialists in this specific form of brain cancer” as they figure out a treatment plan.
“He has a long journey ahead and will need the full support of our community,” O’Neal said.
Brooks began his college career with three seasons at Arkansas.
“Greg has been a daily inspiration to us all,” his family said in a statement. “He fights like a Tiger each day and continues to make incremental improvements. We have a long road ahead and are appreciative of the support from our LSU family and Tiger fans.”
To help cover expenses resulting from his illness, The Tiger Athletic Foundation has launched The Greg Brooks Victory Fund.
“Greg has fans around the world and our phones have been ringing off the hook for the last several weeks with words of encouragement and support,” the family said. “Greg is a warrior! Please continue to keep No. 3, and our entire family, in your prayers.”
Brooks’ season ended abruptly when Kelly and his staff became concerned about bouts with dizziness Brooks was experiencing and sent him for additional testing, including a brain scan.
That’s when the tumor was discovered, and emergency surgery was scheduled just days before LSU visited Mississippi State.
The Tigers won that game and honored Brooks with a game ball.
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