Referee Owes Early Cancer Diagnosis to Rowdy NFL Players

matt birk
Ravens center Matt Birk
I wonder what kind of waivers you're required to sign when you accept the position of NFL referee. I'm guessing there's a fair amount of dotted lines and clauses about not taking "legal action against the NFL" in the case of "severe injuries sustained to [your name here]'s person."

So NFL referee Tony Corrente certainly knew he might get kicked around at work sometimes, like he did at a September Ravens-Steelers game. Hey, when it's your job to break up a brawl between four huge dudes with bad tempers, of course you're gonna end up getting shoved to the ground and smacking the back of your head.

But there's no way Corrente could have predicted that an on-the-job accident would save his life.


As one might expect, Corrente ended up with a nasty headache after the fall. So a co-worker suggested he pop a few Motrin. Corrente did and continued taking Motrin for the next week (I don't envy the man that headache, yowch).

Here's a little-known fact about Motrin (ibuprofen): It functions as a blood-thinner. Which turned out to be a very good thing for Corrente, who was coughing up blood by the end of the week.

Hey, that's not a good thing! I know, I know. Wait a sec, I'll explain. The reason why we should be glad Corrente was hacking up his newly-thinned blood is that it made him go to the doctor, who discovered a mass at the base of his tongue.

If not for Corrente getting smashed by linebackers and taking Motrin and thinning his blood, he might not have been diagnosed with and treated for throat cancer until much later, possibly too much later.

He might not be alive today.

The best part is that Corrente actually went back and thanked Matt Birk and Michael Oher of the Ravens for, well, beating him up. Says Birk of the unlikely experience:

“I just came back to that you never know how God is going to use you. And here Mike and I just thought we were probably just being tough guys, getting in a little scuffle after a play, but everything happens for a reason.”

In other words, another Football-ivus Miracle!

Do you think everything happens for a reason?


Image via Keith Allison/Flickr

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