Brodarious Hamm has been tested with adversity before.
As a budding sophomore, Hamm suffered a torn ACL during spring practice. He was forced to wear a knee brace for the remainder of his time at Spalding High School (Griffin, Ga.).
It couldn’t prepare him for the news he received less than a month ago. Hamm, who signed with Auburn in the 2016 recruiting class, found out he had cancer.
His father, Brock, recalls a knot his son developed when he was eight years old. Doctors told Hamm’s father it wasn’t an issue.
But it suddenly began growing back in November, prompting Hamm to visit a specialist. He was tested for cat scratch fever, an infection of the lymph nodes, and infectious mononucleosis, or mono. The tests yielded no results. With the help of antibiotics, the knot grew smaller.
His father thought it would be the last they saw of it.
Months later, the knot grew progressively bigger. Hamm returned to see a specialist in February to have a biopsy done, just weeks after he had signed his letter of intent with the Tigers.
“I thought they had done something wrong or he had gotten an infection from (the antibiotics),” said Hamm’s father.
The results would take 14 days. Hamm, his father and his mother couldn’t wait any longer, so they returned to the doctor in hopes of discovering the prognosis. Early signs indicated Hamm had cancer.
“She didn’t want to say that (he had cancer) because she didn’t have the actual results,” Hamm’s father said.
The family opted to pursue treatment as if he was diagnosed.
Days later, it was confirmed: Brodarious had developed Stage IIA Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His prognosis, fortunately, was good — patients are given a 90-percent survival rate.
“(Brodarious) was fine, I was fine for the most part of it,” Hamm’s father said. “I asked him how he felt, and the one thing he wanted to know was how did he get it. He did say, ‘Why me?’ But he said he wanted to do what he had to do to get rid of it.”
Hamm’s father later called the Auburn coaching staff to notify them of the news. He spoke with offensive line coach Herb Hand and defensive line coach Rodney Garner. They offered their support and invited Hamm and his family to the Tigers’ spring game on April 9.
“They told us they were going to be waiting on him and anything they could do to help us, they were going to be there for us,” Hamm’s father said.
Per Hamm’s father, Brodarious began chemotherapy last week. He’s expected to do 12 treatments. Thus far, he hasn’t lost any significant weight. After weighing in at 354 pounds in January, Hamm checked in at 350 at his most recent treatment.
He expects to enroll at Auburn in August if he’s unable to do so in May.
“He just wants to be a great student and a good athlete,” Hamm’s father said. “He wants to be regular.”