Friday, November 18, 2011

Joe Paterno Has Lung Cancer, Firing Now A Blessing In Disguise?

No one wanted to hear about this: former Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno has lung cancer.  His son announced the news earlier today.  He also stated that his Dad's cancer is treatable and that doctors are very optimistic.

It's an odd turn of events, and the latest bombshell for a University and football team in turmoil.  Paterno has had a multitude of injuries over the past several years (hit on the sideline in 2006 and broke his leg, had hip replacement surgery in 2008), but this is the first illness that has been reported.

Paterno is 84-years-old.  The doctors may be optimistic, but Paterno is still an old man in difficult times.  Cancer is never easy to beat.  Most forms of lung cancer are treated with chemotherapy, which can weaken the immune system.  That can make him vulnerable to infections such as pneumonia.  Pneumonia kills many thousands of people each year.

I'm not trying to be morbid.  I'm trying to be realistic in this situation.  Paterno may very well need the rest in the coming weeks and months that coaching a football team would not have allowed.  I understand Paterno to be a very stubborn man.  However, he will need to focus on his treatment and recovery and he honestly couldn't do that while he was still head coach.

So they say things happen for a reason.  Joe Paterno didn't just get cancer this past week. He's had it for a while.  Thousands of Penn State fans are still ticked that he was fired from his head coaching job.  Perhaps the silver lining in all this is that JoePa might yet live a lot longer because he is no longer the football coach.  Maybe one day his loyal followers will see that and understand that things do happen for a reason.

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