Referee Tony Corrente keeps working while battling cancer


Several of you asked via the live chat during Saturday night’s Lions-Saints game about the health of referee Tony Corrente, based on the fact that his hair was gone.

As Peter King of Sports Illustrated explains it, Corrente has been battling throat and tongue cancer.

Corrente, 60, attributes his diagnosis to a Week One brawl between players from the Ravens and Steelers, featuring Michael Oher, Matt Birk, Ryan Mundy, and LaMarr Woodley.  While intervening, Corrente was knocked down and landed on his back and head.  He chose Motrin over Tylenol to deal with the pain.

Within days, Corrente noticed he was coughing up blood.  One thing led to another, and his cancer was discovered.

“Getting knocked down and hurt in that Baltimore game might have saved my life,” Corrente told King. “Then I started taking Motrin, which I found out causes your blood to thin.  It broke through blood vessels and would come out when I coughed.  Obviously, you’ve got to find out why that’s happening. Had I not done anything, or had I taken Tylenol, which doesn’t cause your blood to thin, I probably wouldn’t have discovered this for a while — and by then, I’d have needed massive surgery, and who knows what chances I would have had.”

Corrente opted for chemotherapy and radiation over surgery.  He finished one course during the season, and starts a second course soon.

The full story, from Monday Morning Quarterback, is worth reading.  We wish Corrente the best as he continues his fight, and we look forward to seeing him back on the field during the 2012 season.

16 responses to “Referee Tony Corrente keeps working while battling cancer

  1. “Corrente opted for chemotherapy and radiation over treatment.”

    Chemotherapy and radiation are considered treatments.

  2. This reminds me of a very similar story involving Tony Gonzales.

    Years ago, he knocked over some guy on the sidelines, I think he was a camera man for NFL Films. Anyway, they bring the guy to the hospital because he was out, they do a scan of his head and find out he has a brain tumor.

    He said if it wasn’t for the accident, they might have found out too late.

  3. good luck to him!

    I commend the NFL for keeping employment for a variety of people with sickness or disability. Watching that Lions game reminded me of this fact given how they continue with the employment of the blind…. as refs.

  4. One of the more underrated refs in the league. Like Mike Carey, always seems to be in control of the game.

    Godspeed and good health, Tony.

  5. Chemo makes a person feel like crap and robs you of energy like few other experiences in life. That he is continuing to work tells you how much he enjoys being an NFL ref, and how committed to it he is.
    Good for him.

  6. Lost a childhood friend to that cancer in his early 20s–it’s a terrible disease and difficult to treat. What a blessing that Corrente’s cancer was discovered early enough that he may be able to avoid the devastating surgery. God be with him as he continues his treatment. Praying that he experiences a full recovery.

  7. Mr. Corrente is a great man and I know everyone in my hometown is praying for him right now. For those of you who don’t know mr. Corrente is not just an nfl ref he is a high school work history teacher who loves both of his jobs and you can see it from him every day. I am one of the students who can actually say I had a great highscho experience and he is one of the reasons why. He always went above and beyond what I expected. Good luck and god bless.

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