OVERCOMER: BHSU Football player overcomes leukemia, prepares for junior season
SPEARFISH, S.D. — Adversity can hit you from anywhere as it did for Black Hills State University football player Brett Lamb.
Lamb was diagnosed with leukemia in the summer of 2019 and was sidelined from his sport for over a year.
But Thursday night, Brett is making his comeback to the Yellow Jackets sideline.
Brett was just a Texas kid who was living the dream of playing college football.
Originally from San Antonio, Brett made his way to Spearfish to be a Yellow Jacket and quickly made an impact.
In 2018, he played in 10 games totaling more than 50 tackles and established himself as a young leader.
“I wanted everybody to do the best they could do and I loved being the starter and you know, made me just love football even more,” said Brett.
The impact he left on the field was expected to expand before he had to tackle something else.
During summer conditioning and workouts, Brett was experiencing shortness of breath among other symptoms.
After returning home to Texas with concern, a trip to the emergency room changed his career forever.
“Took my blood and about 10 minutes later the doctor walked in and said, ‘Brett, you have leukemia,’ and right there I just really broke down,” Brett said. “The hardest thing was looking at myself in the mirror and seeing my body go from you know, being an athlete on the black hills state football team to myself going to 138 pounds and not being able to hardly walk up the stairs and or make you know, make a sandwich. Or make any food for myself and I never thought I was going to be able to play football again.”
His journey with treatment took a year, in which he saw his years of hard work deteriorate. But slowly, he’s made his way back.
His fight has turned to getting on the field again in a new system and with new coaches.
“The fact that he’s still playing football, that he’s beat it and he’s already on the field playing football, you know, I told him, whether you ever become a starter again or whether that you’re a role player or special teams guy, like you’ve already won, and I go ‘you have something that you know 90% of people don’t have’,” said BHSU Linebacker Coach & Defensive Coordinator JB Brown. “The kind of grit that he has to do, what he does, and that’s a great example for his teammates.”
And if his message has taught his teammates anything, its play this snap like it could be your last.
“It means the world to me coming out with my team, holding hands, come down and runnin’ onto that field and I never thought I was going to really be a part of that again,” said Brett.