JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Carson-Newman offensive lineman Colt Sinor is grateful to be playing the game he loves.
However, this will be his first season playing for the Eagles even though he is a junior in the classroom. His first chance at a season was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Then in March 2021, what started as back pain turned into something far worse.
After a trip to the hospital and a CT scan, the doctors gave him the news he never imagined hearing this young.
“They found out I have 8 tumors in my liver, two in my lungs, found out that all of my lymph nodes were inflamed," Sinor said. "At that moment I didn’t know what cancer I had, but the lady came in and said, 'You have cancer.' I was like, 'Wow.' That hit really hard. My mom was in there with me and she took it really rough.”
He was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He underwent chemotherapy from March until the end of May. It wasn’t easy on his mind.
“It was just knowing I couldn’t be there with everybody," he said." I was losing time. Everybody is moving on with their lives and I feel like I’m in a time period where I’m not able to play and not move on with my life.”
It was also tough on the body. Sinor lost his hair and around 50 pounds.
“I’d be like, 'This don’t feel right,'" he said. "I used to go to Planet Fitness and work out and they’d be like, 'You used to be so much bigger,' and I’d say, ‘Yeah, well stuff happens, I guess.'"
Never once did he think about giving up. Returning to football kept him going. He never doubted if he would play again.
“I thought about that every single day," he said. "Being able to get back here with the guys. From day one, I always told myself I would make it back."
He beat cancer in May 2021. However, due to radiation in his brain, he couldn’t play last season. Sinor found a way to stay a part of the team though, as an equipment manager.
“I was told I was going to start, and then I got cancer," he said. "I kind of feel like I let down the team. And I felt if I was actually going to go in there and do something for the school and make them proud in a way. Then I could fulfill my scholarship in a way.”
During that time, he worked on putting on weight and building up his strength, just waiting for the moment he wanted — to be cleared to play again.
That moment happened this past spring.
He went through spring ball, and fall camp. Sinor is now expected to get playing time this season.
“I feel like coming out here now, I have a different mentality for the game," he said. "I realize I could get diagnosed again in a couple of days. With cancer, you never know what is going to happen. I’m going to treat every play like it is my last, play every practice like I might not be able to play again. Maybe West Georgia will be my first game, maybe it will be my last game.”
On Thursday in Carson-Newman's first regular season game against West Georgia, he will finally suit up for a game with the team he keeps fighting for. After everything he has gone through, he’s grateful to be playing the game he loves. And just like he said he would be — he’s back.
“Right now to come out here and show and play, after being a year of being cancer-free and being able to show that even though you go through treatments, you go through chemo, you go through cancer, lose half your manhood and just be able to come out here and do the best you can do, it’s all possible," he said.