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Cancer survivor Bill Schuster prepares for the 2016 season

The NFL umpire missed half of the 2015 season for cancer treatment

WHAM-TV reports that NFL umpire Bill Schuster (number 129) is getting ready to officiate the 2016 season. The NFL veteran was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2015.

He officiated part of the 2015 NFL season while taking chemotherapy and radiation. He then left the field in November to undergo surgery. The surgery removed part of his esophagus and doctors formed a new one using part of his stomach.

Doctors declared his cancer “in remission” and Schuster is working his way onto the field.

“I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeve, but I’m so excited,” Schuster told WHAM-TV.

According to the report, Schuster says his physical recovery is going well, but it took him a bit longer for the rules-recall skill to catch up.

“I didn’t forget how to officiate. I can still officiate and be on the field. But as far as the mental-retaining part, it was tough,” he said.

Schuster has attended Buffalo Bills training camp both in civilian clothes and his official’s uniform.  For 2016, Schuster  as a “swing” official, meaning he will rotate among crews week to week.  

Here’s hoping we see Mr. Schuster on the field in the preseason, and we see him officiating a full schedule this regular season.  Welcome back, Bill Schuster, congratulations on your cancer remission and best wishes for a continued and complete recovery.

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Mark Schultz
Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"

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4 thoughts on “Cancer survivor Bill Schuster prepares for the 2016 season

  1. Congratulations Bill. I always look for you as I watch football every week in Colorado. Have a great season and don’t get knocked down, you old Bulldog.

    Sandy Brennan

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