DuRocher Has Brain Tumor Removed

Dec. 1, 2006

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    SEATTLE (AP) -- A tumor removed from University of Washingtonquarterback Johnny Durocher's brain this week was benign and he'sexpected to make a complete recovery, the neurosurgeon who did thesurgery said Friday.

    'I expect him to have an absolutely normal life,' Dr. RichardEllenbogen told a news conference at Harborview Medical Center.'Things look great.'

    DuRocher, a 22-year-old junior from Bethel High School inGraham, had the 2.5-hour operation Thursday. After an MRI,Ellenbogen and other doctors thought the tumor was going to bebenign, but they couldn't be sure until after the surgery and apathologist in the operating room looked at a specimen from thetumor under a microscope.

    'Until we take it out, we don't know for sure,' Ellenbogentold reporters.

    Dr. Richard Ellenbogen explained Johnnny DuRocher's procedure Friday.

    Corrina DuRocher said her son was upbeat and positive throughouthis ordeal, but apparently was apprehensive Wednesday night.

    That was when DuRocher asked himself, ''Do you know what? Whathappens if it's not benign?' Corrina DuRocher said. Her sonwaited until after the surgery to mention those thoughts to her.

    A strapping 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, DuRocher found out he had abrain tumor after he suffered a concussion in Washington's 20-3loss to Stanford Nov. 11. Doctors noticed an abnormality after hehad a CAT scan at the UW Medical Center and MRIs confirmed thetumor.

    While Ellenbogen said it was fortuitous that DuRocher'sconcussion led to the discovery of the brain tumor, he said it wasjust a matter of time before the tumor was discovered.

    'He would have been symptomatic in the next few months Isuspect because this thing had grown a little,' Ellenbogen said.

    The physician said the type of tumor that DuRocher had wascongenital, 'something he probably had since he was very young.'

    'What was surprising to me was that his brain was under a lotof pressure,' Ellenbogen said. 'It is unimaginable to me that hedidn't have severe headaches.'

    DuRocher said before his surgery that he didn't intend to try toplay football again, a decision his father, John DuRocher Sr.,agreed with.

    'I wouldn't like to see him play again just because he's got aplate in his head with screws,' his father said. 'It's probably atotally different process if your son is the starter and has achance to go pro. But why risk it?'

    DuRocher said this month that he'd like to play baseball -- as apitcher -- for the Washington Huskies next spring. He hasn't playedbaseball since his sophomore year in high school.

    'About 1:30 yesterday, he was doing this,' said CorrinaDuRocher, making a pitching motion with her wrist.

    Ellenbogen wouldn't rule out that DuRocher might be able to playprofessional baseball some day.

    'It seems unimaginable that after you have a brain tumor takenout that you can play professional sports, but nothing is out ofthe ordinary for these guys who are incredible athletes,' he said.

    Ellenbogen said DuRocher probably would be released fromHarborview this weekend.

    DuRocher played in two games for the Huskies this season,completing five of 17 passes for one touchdown and 44 yards, withtwo interceptions. He transferred to Washington after redshirtingas a freshman at the University of Oregon in 2003.

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