Kansas City Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder stood in front of the media 247 days ago to explain that Eric Berry had a mass in his chest, which was determined to be Hodgkins lymphoma.
On Wednesday at Chiefs training camp, Burkholder returned to explain the process of how Berry returned to the practice field. I have notes on everything Burkholder said below but perhaps the best part is this tidbit which shows how dedicated to returning Berry was.
"One of the interesting things is, between Eric and his physician, they decided not to do a traditional route of chemotherapy administration which is used through what we refer to as a PICC line or a port or a central line so that the IV would be in his arm and then into a major vein in his heart," Burkholder said. "He opted to have IVs every time that he got the chemotherapy. That was so that he could work out, which is an interesting concept that most patients don't have."
Berry came out of chemo a pound heavier than he was before. Wow.
"He sailed through every test we gave him," Burkholder said.
We'll be hearing from Berry this afternoon. A few more notes from the Chiefs trainer:
- Berry had a great support group at home, including his parents and his agent, Chad Speck. Berry's parents were in attendance on Wednesday.
- Berry had six phases of chemotherapy from December 10 to May 13 where he went about every two weeks or so.
- Berry was considered cancer free on June 22 but Berry didn't want anything released until he knew he could get back on the football field.
- Berry trained twice a day in Florida with Travis Kelce.
- He came back to the Chiefs last week. The Chiefs doctors put together an extensive testing protocol to make sure he was safe to play football.
- The Chiefs tested him over four days in the past week. He has his normal physical along with additional labs and testing and came out "pristine" with his labs, according to Burkholder.
- He had an Achilles injury last year but it looks very good this year.