Nate Solder is a major tough guy.
The offensive tackle started all 20 games during the New England Patriots’ 2014 Super Bowl championship season, an incredibly impressive feat considering the information he divulged on Tuesday.
Apparently, the 27-year-old former Colorado-native has had testicular cancer since April of 2014 and played the entire season while receiving treatment.
Per Sports Illustrated:
Solder was diagnosed in April 2014 after he said something wasn’t right after taking an exam during the team’s voluntary offseason program.
Doctors performed an ultrasound to confirm a diagnosis, and Solder underwent surgery to remove the testicle. The cancer did not spread to other parts of his body.
“I knew nothing about it. It was a complete surprise… You Google something like that and it kind of scares you, so I was like, ‘I’m not going to freak out about this.’ Had I not had a routine physical, I probably wouldn’t have checked it, saying, ‘Oh, it’s just in my head, I’m going to be fine.'”
Solder, 27, only missed about two weeks of the team’s OTAs. He returned for mini-camp, training camp and started all 16 regular-season games, plus New England’s four playoff games on its way to a Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
Solder said he wanted to spread the word about testicular cancer, as April is National Testicular Cancer Awareness month. He says this type of cancer is “more common than people realize.”
“I was completely healthy, I’m a professional athlete. It can happen to anybody,” he said. “Make sure you get yourself checked out, especially young men, because that’s who it’s really targeted toward.”
That’s a seriously ballsy move.