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


Covenant Softball Sweeps Sewanee 2-0, 6-1

 The Covenant softball team's pitching allowed just one run in two games and Jordan Brett hit a home run in each game to lead the Lady Scots to a doubleheader sweep at Sewanee in non-conference play on Wednesday. Covenant won the first game 2-0 before taking game two 6-1. The wins give Covenant 20 on the year as the Lady Scots move to 20-12 overall. It marks just the third ... (click for more)

Covenant Sweeps Sewanee In Softball

The Covenant softball team's pitching allowed just one run in two games and Jordan Brett hit a home run in each game to lead the Lady Scots to a doubleheader sweep at Sewanee in non-conference play  on Wednesday . Covenant won the first game 2-0 before taking game two 6-1. The wins give Covenant 20 on the year as the Lady Scots move to 20-12 overall. It marks just ... (click for more)

Boyd Says $4.1 Million In County Budget Cuts Would Yield $43.1 Million For School Projects; Proposes That CSLA Move To Dalewood

County Commission Finance Chairman Tim Boyd on Wednesday recommended $4.1 million in county budget cuts, which he said would provide bond funds for $43,150,000 in county school projects. He recommended that $250,000 of the money from the cuts go to relocating Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts (CSLA) to Dalewood Middle School. He said Dalewood students could move to a portion ... (click for more)

Police Shoot And Kill Sheriff's Office Employee, Daniel Hendrix After Disorder At Brainerd Home; 2 Off-Duty City Officers Were At Scene Of Altercation Where Shot Was Fired

Chattanooga Police responded to an altercation at a house in Brainerd early Wednesday morning and wound up shooting and killing an armed man, who is an employee of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. Police said two off-duty Chattanooga Police officers were at the scene of the disorder in the 300 block of Shawnee Trail. A shot was fired before officers arrived at 1:26 a.m. ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret - And Response

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Two Catchers & ‘Shaq’

Kids whose parents are active members in the military were special guests of the New York Yankees when they played the Tampa Bay Rays in an exhibition game last Sunday in Tampa. The Yankees had even arranged for taped videos so some of the kids could watch with the rest of the crowd as their parents told how much they missed them on the Jumbotron. Both the kids and the fans ate ... (click for more)