Cincinnati Bengals player Devon Still decided earlier this summer he would be giving up his NFL career after his four-year-old daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
His daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with nueroblastoma on June 2, and Still decided his family came before his career.
“When I found out, I told my family I was done. Done,” Still told Delaware Online. “I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my daughter while she’s going through this. She’s fighting for her life. Sports is not more important than me being there while my daughter is fighting for her life.”
After he was cleared to play Saturday for the first time since surgery on his back in January, Still ultimately decided to return for his third NFL season.
A key component to the 25-year-old’s decision was that one of the top nueroblastoma surgeons in the U.S. works at Cincinnati Children’s hospital.
Leah and her mother, Channing Smythe, will be joining Still in Cincinnati Thursday, reports Delaware Online.
When Leah lost her hair to chemotherapy, Still shaved his head and pledged that he would not let it grow until hers started to grow again.
Still recently started a campaign to help raise money to support parents of children with cancer and to fund medical research.
He also started a Pldgit campaign in which people can pledge to donate a certain amount for every sack the Bengals have this coming season.
“She’s still in high spirits; she kind of motivates us,” Still said to Delaware online. “She’s kind of our strength in this.”
Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals.