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Oklahoma State football: Brodrick Brown finds inspiration from cancer survivor

Want to know how Brodrick Brown managed to handle a rough season at cornerback and tough out an injury? Meet Paden Blevins, a Crescent senior who has beaten Hodgkin lymphoma twice.
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 29, 2012

photo - Oklahoma State defensive back Brodrick Brown and Paden Blevins. PHOTO PROVIDED KOD
Oklahoma State defensive back Brodrick Brown and Paden Blevins. PHOTO PROVIDED KOD

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas — Brodrick Brown didn't just need to be held out of practice the week before Oklahoma State's regular-season finale.

He needed crutches to simply get around on his injured foot.

But when that Saturday at Baylor rolled around, the Cowboy defensive back played. He gutted it out on one good leg.

“You've got to keep fighting on,” he said. “You're feeling down. You've got to just continue to pray, get your mind right, continue to focus.”

Brown had that lesson reinforced by a shy, petite high school cheerleader.

Want to know how Brown managed to handle a rough season at cornerback, then to tough out an injury that would've sidelined most players?

Meet Paden Blevins.

The 17-year-old Crescent High School senior was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma two years ago. The cancer attacked her body's immune system and compromised her ability to fight infection. She battled and beat it twice.

Only a couple months after Paden was given a clean bill of health, she and Brodrick met.

They've been inspiring each other ever since.

* * *

Paden went up for a rebound and felt pain in her neck. A sophomore on the Crescent basketball team, she had missed much of her freshman season with a neck injury that required a brace, and that rebound re-aggravated the injury.

But as she massaged her muscles, she noticed a lump by her left collarbone near the base of her neck.

She went to the doctor on a Thursday.

On Friday, she was diagnosed with cancer.

A round of chemotherapy followed. Because of the drugs, Paden lost all of her brown hair, but on Valentine's Day 2011 — two months after her diagnosis — she was given a clean bill of health.

Over the next six months, life started to return to normal. Her hair grew back. Her strength returned.

Then, the week before school started, Paden felt a familiar lump by her left collarbone.

“It's back,” she told her mom.

It was as big as a golf ball.

Doctors decided to leave nothing to chance this time. They prescribed an intense treatment regiment of radiation and chemo.

“That was 10 times worse,” Paden said.

She spent days and sometimes weeks at OU Children's Hospital. She had four months of hell.

But on Dec. 21, 2011 came good news — a clean scan.

Not long after, she was invited to OSU's Coaches vs. Cancer Basketball Bash. It was quite an honor for a longtime Cowboy fan like Paden. She would be introduced during a game, shoot free throws at halftime and get to meet some football players.

“I did not want to do it,” she said. “I'm really shy.”

That wasn't the only reason she hesitated.

“She had not wanted to be around basketball,” her mom, Jeanette, said. “She did not want to play basketball. She didn't want to have that reminder.”

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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