West Virginia State University sophomore outfielder Justin Graham has been diagnosed with leukemia. He is battling the disease the athletic department have confirmed. The 20-year-old, who was the starting outfielder for the Yellow Jackets, is due to undergo surgery and chemotherapy.
The school confirmed the cancer diagnosis and expressed their admiration for the player’s positive approach. Doctors diagnosed Justin Graham with leukemia. He is battling the disease at University of Kentucky Hospital. It requires an operation.
First and foremost, the entire team, coaching staff and his family are saddened at the news of this challenge to his health, and their immediate priority has poured support and pray for a cure.
Justin was set to be a main cog in the Yellow Jackets starting line-up this season. During a normal practice, Justin informed his coaches that he did not feel right and was taken off the field for evaluation.
Messages of support have been sent to the athletic department and Graham’s family since the announcement, including from several of his current baseball and former teammates and friends in “Rowan County” as they shaved their heads when Justin was scheduled to start chemotherapy.
The chemotherapy will last for several weeks. The understanding is he has the most common form of leukemia and something like 5 of 6 survive. He is going to have a bone marrow transplant and is in need of donors. To donate bone marrow which can be done through bethematch.org for Justin’s cause.
The player is okay, strong, calm. He’s showing maturity, not only on the field, but also off it. He’s optimistic. Justin has posted a sign in his hospital room stating “Cancer may have started the fight, but I will finish it.”
As a freshman in 2016 Justin played in 37 of the Yellow Jackets’ 47 games starting 31. He batted .304 (34-112) and played mainly left field. He hit two home runs and drove in 19 runs. Justin ended last season on a five game hitting streak going 7-17 (.412) over that period.
We take for granted the things we do in life. Baseball is a passionate sport but it takes a back seat for the many obstacles life presents itself. The HBCU Baseball community and the coaching staff are optimistic he will get healthy and be able to return to the baseball field.