Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner said Tuesday he’s not concerned when it comes to playing football as a cancer survivor in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
After being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and having to undergo chemotherapy treatments while in his junior year at the University of Pittsburgh, Conner says that his present-day health concerns aren’t any greater than the next player’s.
“Honestly, it truly doesn’t,” Conner told ESPN’s Adam Schefter in a podcast interview when asked if the virus has heightened his concerns.
“I am so far removed from [cancer treatments] — I am going on four years now — so just talking with my doctor, I have great relationship with him, Dr. [Stanley] Marks, he said, ‘You don’t have anything to worry about as far your immune system or any of that.’ I am far removed, and our bodies are constantly healing and changing. So I have no concerns with that,” Conner said.
While he’s still following standard social-distancing guidelines just like everyone else, Conner said “as far as my health history, there’s nothing I'm concerned about.”
He clarified that while he understands the measures the medical community is advising at-risk players to adhere to, these are day-to-day things that he’s long been exposed to in his NFL career.
“I’ve been playing football and having everyone together in that atmosphere, our bodies get immune to it. We’re going to keep it safe,” said Conner, who was drafted by the Steelers in 2017.
“Honestly, I don’t want to downplay (precautions being taken) and have people think I don’t think it’s an issue or anything. I just believe we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and think that our bodies are meant to go through things and overcome it and just get immune to things such as that.”