James Conner Remembers Doctors Telling Him He Had ‘About a Week’ to Live

James Conner Remembers Doctors Telling Him He Had ‘About a Week’ to Live

As a student athlete at the University of Pittsburgh, Steelers running back James Conner was hit with devastating news. While undergoing treatment for a torn MCL, doctors discovered that Conner had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma leading to tumors around his heart. Although he manages to fight the illness en route to becoming an NFL athlete, Conner remembers the initial, grim diagnosis. 

"The doctor told me I had about a week left," Conner said during an appearance on Mike Stud's Ya neva know: you know what I mean? podcast. "He said, 'You got about a week.' If you didn't get this treated, you had about a week at the rate it was growing."

Once he received the news, Conner began an intense period of chemotherapy. Yet, despite being in a rigorous fight for his life, Conner claims that the hardest thing he had to do was to reveal the diagnosis to his loved ones. 

"The hardest part about the whole thing was telling my bros," Conner explained. "I remember that like it was yesterday. ... How would they feel if their youngest brother was not here no more? How would they feel if their youngest brother died? I said I can't do it. I can't go."

Conner's treatment ended in May of 2016. The following year he returned to the field for his senior year at Pitt. His play got him drafted by the Steelers in 2017 and in 2019 he was named to the Pro Bowl. Conner tells Stud that none of this would have been possible without focusing on having a strong mind. 

"The mind is way more powerful than you could think of," Conner states near the interview's 20-minute mark. "Strong mental is second to none... I was like, 'Imma come back' and everyone was like, 'The story is already written.'"