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.