East Ridge Football Coach Battling Brain Cancer

Second Bout With Cancer For Austin Roden

Thursday, July 31, 2014 - by B.B. Branton

“If chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant don't work then I guess that’s it. I don’t want to die, but I am not afraid of dying and there is a big difference.

“The Lord is taking care of me and I know I’ll go to heaven when I die.”

-- East Ridge Volunteer Wide Receivers Coach Austin Roden

Something was wrong. Seriously wrong. But Austin Roden did not know what.

Two weeks ago, his hands were numb and he had severe headaches and after some tests the doctor gave him the news he did not expect to hear.

The brain cancer he had beaten three years earlier had returned in the form of six tumors.

“I was in shock, started crying and told myself ‘I don’t want to hear this,’” said Roden who works for Lipsey Logistics and is also a volunteer wide receivers coach for his alma mater, East Ridge.

Eight Treatments: Roden, 24, has finished the first of eight chemotherapy treatments as he will spend every other week in the hospital until mid-November.

“If the chemo doesn’t work, then the doctors will try a bone marrow transplant,” said Roden who played football, soccer and basketball for the Pioneers graduating in 2009.

“If the bone marrow transplant doesn’t work then I guess that’s it. I don’t want to die, but I am not afraid of dying and there is a big difference.

“The Lord is taking care of me and I know I’ll go to heaven when I die.”

And while the Lord has His hand on Roden, the young man also has friends who have come along side in this tough time, including Leslie Hixson his girlfriend of four years who was Miss East Ridge as a senior in 2011.

“We are in this fight together with Austin,” said East Ridge football coach Tracy Malone.

“Austin has done a super job with our receivers as he has been like a sponge working all winter watching game film learning as much as he can.

“It’s hard to see someone that young fighting for his life.”

Roden is appreciative of the support he has received from the East Ridge football family.

“The receivers I have been working with have stopped by the hospital to show me their support which is great,” said Roden who has a strong athletic family including his brother and former East Ridge quarterback Bradford Turner and his dad, Arthur Roden who was one of catchers on the 1977 class A state champion Lookout Valley High School baseball team.

Roden’s first bout with brain cancer came in June of 2011 as a seizure led to tests which showed one tumor.

“I was lying next to a pool in East Ridge that summer and all of a sudden my body started shaking and I couldn’t breathe and thought I was going to die right then.”

The doctors successfully removed the one tumor and told him he was cancer free in Nov. 2011.

“I was not scheduled to see the doctors for my yearly check-up until this September until I started feeling bad last week.”

Now in the early stages of his second battle with cancer, Roden has great support and prayers from friends and family and excellent medical advice from his doctor.

“No doubt this will be an uphill battle for me the next few months as I won’t be able to coach my guys this fall, but I do plan to attend as many games as possible cheering them on to victory.”

And Roden’s battle through recovery should provide ample inspiration for his band of receivers to give 100% for their coach in the season opener (Aug. 22) at Walker Valley with the home opener the following week against Notre Dame (Aug. 29).

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net

McCallie And GPS Aquatics Have Success At NCSA Junior Nationals

Thirteen McCallie and GPS Aquatics athletes competed in Orlando March 12-March 17 at the NCSA Junior National Championships.  They were Jillian Cantrell, Grayson Payne, Emma Scruggs, Ellie Taliaferro , Zach Althoff, Ethan Bevill, Reece Gallagher, Ben Griffith, Will Jackson, Gabriel Johnson, Jake Marcum, Luke Massey, and Max Ransom. Luke Massey placed 5th in the 50 Breast ... (click for more)

2018 UCRA Season Opener I-75 Spring-Loaded Easter Weekend

The United Championship Racing Alliance - UCRA will kick off the 2018 Championship campaign next Saturday night at the Kyle families I-75 Raceway in Sweetwater, Tn. with the 2nd annual “Spring-Loaded Easter 40” for Crate Late Models. Rusty Ballenger of nearby Seymour, Tn. will begin vying for his third consecutive $5,000 championship reign at the recently reconfigured 1/3 mile ... (click for more)

Corker, Perdue Slam Massive $1.4 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill; Fleischmann, Graves Support It

In remarks on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, Thursday slammed the massive $1.4 trillion “omnibus” spending bill, calling it one of the most “grotesque” pieces of legislation he can remember during his two terms in the Senate. Georgia Senator David Perdue also opposes it. Reps. Chuck Fleischmann and Tom Graves were among those ... (click for more)

Former Juvenile Court Magistrate Says Gay Marriage Is "Nothing You Put In Air Quotes"

A former magistrate at Juvenile Court, who claims she was fired by Judge Rob Philyaw because she is openly gay, said Wednesday that gay marriage "is nothing you put in air quotes." She referred to County Attorney Rheubin Taylor asking her about her ceremony in marrying another woman and raising his hands to form quote marks. Elizabeth Gentzler is suing Hamilton County, Judge ... (click for more)

Avoid Underage Drinking And Other Prom Drama

My high school prom took a dramatic turn when two guys got their tuxedo jackets mixed up. One of them belonged to my date, who kindly offered to keep my wallet in his pocket. That’s the jacket another young man mistakenly grabbed off the back of a chair before heading to an underage drinking party that got shut down by police well after midnight—as kids scattered in every direction.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Famed Freitas Speech

Several weeks ago a member of the Virginia House of Delegates (that’s what Virginia calls the state legislature) stood up and before that body responded to a claim by a Democratic lawmaker that Republicans were pro-Second Amendment and segregationists. Nick Freitas, who did two tours in Iraq with our Army’s Special Forces and has talked candidly about losing friends to terrorist ... (click for more)