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Hurtado beats the odds

 

 

Caleb Wood
Senior Staff Reporter
calwood@uab.edu

 

 

It has been nearly a year since Luis Hurtado, UAB basketball player was diagnosed with cancer.

 

It was an unexpected diagnosis. Hurtado said he believed he was getting in the best shape of his life. The symptoms seemed to him to be regular exhaustion.

 

In April 2019, however, Hurtado, then only 21 years old, was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

 

“It was tough information for me to take at that time,” Hurtado said. “With the place I was at, my goals and my career.”

 

UAB Head Basketball Coach Robert Ehsan said his first reaction was emotional.

 

“(There was) a lot of fear right off the bat, just because when you hear the word cancer, you really don’t know what to expect,” Ehsan said. “And you always want you to think the worst.”

 

He received treatment at UAB’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center.

 

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Hurtado said the treatment process was rough. He had quickly gone from being in the best shape of his life to being a cancer patient.

 

“I lost weight,” Hurtado said. “I lost my hair. I got skinnier. I’d feel weak.” 

 

He received treatment for one-week Monday through Friday and then had two weeks off. This continued for two months.

 

In June 2019, Hurtado rang the bell that meant he had received his final treatment. 

 

He received treatment for one-week Monday through Friday and then had two weeks off. This continued for two months.

 

In June 2019, Hurtado rang the bell that meant he had received his final treatment.

 

“That was one of the best moments of my life,” Hurtado said. “I can’t even express in words the blessing.”

 

But Hurtado said this was the start of a different kind of battle, though. He needed to get back in shape to play basketball.

 

“Cancer is not a thing to play with,” Hurtado said, “I couldn’t do any exercise. I got tired fast. You want to come back to where you were before.

 

And just months after finishing his cancer treatment, Hurtado would make his return to the hardwood. Against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 20, 2019, he would make his first ever 3-pointer as a college athlete just minutes after taking the court. 

 

“Hitting that shot for my first shot of my college career is great, it’s a blessing,” Hurtado said. “You can’t describe that (feeling).”

 

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It was only his seventh appearance as a Blazer overall, but Hurtado would make eight more appearances as the season continued. In his first season back, Hurtado averaged 1.3 points, 0.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists on 8 minutes a game.

 

“I think the biggest thing is that Luis has been an example to all of us about what it means to persevere,” coach Ehsan said.

 

Hurtado said he wants to use his battle as a personal inspiration to help himself grow and pursue other goals. 

 

“After a couple of hours and days, I realized that it needed to happen,” Hurtado said, “I feel like that needed to happen for me to open my eyes to new things and how to become a man later on.”

 

Coach Ehsan said he has also seen a transformation in how Hurtado carries himself.

 

“He’s on a mental mission to achieve greatness in his future,” Ehsan said, ”While the cancer situation was really bad, I think it has brought some good out of it in that regard because he has really seen a transformation in his desire to be greatness (sic) and pursue his dreams.”

 

While he may not have expected to have to face this battle, Luis Hurtado said he feels he has gained something from it.

 

“It’s not that I wanted it to happen but I’m grateful that it happened, and now I’m here and I want to get back to what I was and even better,” Hurtado said.

About - Student Media

UAB Student Media is the home of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s student-run media outlets. They include Kaleidoscope , an award-winning weekly newspaper; BlazeRadio, our 24-hour online radio station live on the TuneIn app; Aura, a much-heralded literary arts magazine; and UABTV, original, web-based video programming. UAB students operate all media. The articles, posts, newscasts and opinions are solely those of its student writers, producers, editors, deejays, etc. and do not reflect that of the university, its administrators or the Student Media advisors.

 

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