Becoming a successful baseball player isn’t easy. It requires years of practice and a little luck. For Tyler Austin, who is playing for US National Team at the Tokyo Olympics, his journey from the small city of Conyers, Ga., to the pinnacle of competitive sport was nearly cut short before he even finished high school.
As the hot prospect first baseman prepared for his senior year, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. At just 17, he was half the age of the average victim.
“It was a tough time in my life because you don’t know whether it had spread or not,” said Austin at an event in Yankee Stadium in April 2018. “Thank the Good Lord that I was lucky enough to catch it early enough and not have it spread anywhere. But my cancer was the same kind that Lance Armstrong had except that mine had not spread anywhere.”
The tumor was removed and a week later Austin, now 29, was playing in the Athletic All-American game in San Diego. He was later drafted by the Yankees as a 19-year-old.
Now playing in Japan’s Nippon Professional league, Austin believes he has a responsibility to help others.
“I have a story. Now I need to try to help as many people as I can to have the same results as me that have it,” he said at the Yankees event. “I’m lucky. I didn’t have to do the chemo or radiation. I didn’t die from it. As many people as I can help, the better.”