Moultrie, Georgia - Rush Propst's life changed with a phone call back in January of this year. On the other end was a doctor informing Propst that he had cancer.
"When you hear the word cancer it scares you to death," he said.
It was in the middle of last football season when Propst felt some discomfort in his throat. He thought it was just the common sore throat any average person would get.
During the game against Warner Robbins (Ga.), the Colquitt County Head Football Coach asked his wife to get him some chloraseptic.
But throughout the week it got worse and he thought he may have caught strep because a couple of players on his team had it.
He went to the doctors, took a culture and the results came back negative.
So, Propst assumed the soreness would go away on its own. But it didn't.
"Basically, I started drinking Chick-fil-a milkshakes at lunch, and at night, when we would feed the coaches after practice as we watch tape, I saw myself eating a few bites," he said. "And I thought it was because of nerves and we weren't performing very well."
He then went for another test, this time for mononucleosis. That test, too, came back negative.
It wasn't until the state playoffs when Propst realized something was abnormal. He felt a knot coming out of his neck "about the size of a grape."
Initially, he had that knot drained, thinking it was no big deal.
But then the knot reappeared.
"There was a tumor growing in my throat. And I didn't know it," Propst said.
He underwent radiation treatment almost immediately.
Since the time of the finding, Propst has dropped more than 40 pounds.
"Basically, you had enough energy to get up to go to the bathroom and lay back down and go get treatment everyday," he said.
He said he didn't watch a single minute of his football team's spring practice because he didn't have the strength, but he's now on the road to recovery.
"You can get involved in this great game that we coach and that's the game of football, but it can be taken from you pretty quick and things in life and perspective can change so fast," Propst said.
"We do start on August the 19th. I'll kneel down on the field and say a little prayer to the Good Lord above and tell him thank you for allowing me to be back on these sidelines."
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