College football player becomes donor

November 18, 2009

Junior defensive end Matt Hoffman had a decision to make, missing Rowan University's last game of the year or accept a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to save the life of someone he's never met, a 51-year-old man, suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"It's a big difference, so I think it's definitely worth it to miss the game," Hoffman said.

The Rowan football team joined a bone-marrow registry in the spring and much to Matt's surprise he was the only match.

"I got the phone call, I was shocked, I was like this must happen to a lot of people, they always get called, but they never actually get it, so when they said you are a match I was kind of blown away. I didn't believe it, after a while it sunk in," Hoffman said.

Matt's coach, Jay Acorsi, couldn't believe it either.

"The statistics are so far against matches to begin with, you just don't think about it at the time," Coach Acorsi said.

So two days before Rowan met its New Jersey Athletic conference rival, the team practiced in a driving rain, everyone except Matt.

He had already begun taking medication to begin the donor process.

"They don't go into your hip and they don't drill, they kind of take these blood cells out of your marrow through drugs," Acorsi said.

"I should feel flu-like symptoms, mild fever, aches, they're not horrible side effects, but they're uncomfortable. I'm not looking forward to it, but it's worth it," Hoffman said.

Rowan defeated the College of New Jersey in its season final on Saturday, 39-0.

Matt says he never doubted his teammates. and apparently, the feeling is mutual.

"A lot of the guys told me they admire what I'm doing. They think it's very cool," Hoffman said.

Matt made his bone marrow donation on Monday; he'll be able to monitor its success and if all continues to go well, he'll meet the recipient in one year.

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