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LSU Football Captain (Greg Brooks Jr.) Recovering from ‘Extensive Surgery’ for Rare Type of Brain Cancer

*(CNN) — Louisiana State University Tigers football player Greg Brooks Jr. has been diagnosed with a rare type of cancerous brain tumor, his family, the athletics department and a Baton Rouge hospital announced Wednesday.

According to Dr. Catherine O’Neal, the chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake Health, Brooks, who played in the first two games of the season, had “extensive surgery” three weeks ago to remove a tumor from between his cerebellum and brain stem.

“Greg’s speech and ability to communicate has been impacted, and although he is responsive and working daily with physical therapy, he will face months of intensive rehabilitation,” the doctor said, adding there is no evidence the cancer has spread.

O’Neal said the fifth-year senior, who played his first three years at the University of Arkansas, has a medulloblastoma, which, according to the National Cancer Institute, is a very fast-growing cancer that affects walking, balance and/or fine motor skills.

Greg Brooks Jr. (Jonathan Bachman-Getty Images)
Greg Brooks Jr. (Jonathan Bachman-Getty Images)

About 72% of people with medulloblastoma live at least five years after diagnosis, but many factors can affect the prognosis, the institute says.

About 4,000 people in the United States have this type of cancer. It typically affects children and younger adults between 20 and 40.

The Brooks family said their son “has been a daily inspiration to us all.”

“He fights like a Tiger each day and continues to make incremental improvements. We have a long road ahead and are appreciative of the support from our LSU family and Tiger fans,” the family said.

The athlete was voted one of four team captains, playing in the first two games of the season and starting one. He had eight tackles total, two pass breakups and one quarterback hurry.

Greg Brooks Jr (Wesley Hitt-Getty Images)
Greg Brooks Jr. (Wesley Hitt-Getty Images)

The Tiger Athletic Foundation has created The Greg Brooks Victory Fund to help with expenses resulting from Brooks’ illness.

“Under NCAA rules, LSU is permitted to accept financial gifts and manage an account to assist Greg Brooks,” an announcement release said. “Per NCAA rules, all contributions of any kind must go through this fund.”

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