AIDON DAVIS was diagnosed with cancer last September and then broke his leg in February. The Cheetahs loose forward explains how he overcame this adversity to regain his place in the squad.
Davis played for SA Schools in 2012 and the Junior Boks in 2013 and 2014, before spending three years at the Kings. After short stints with Toulon and Bayonne in France, he returned to South Africa last year to play for the Cheetahs. In September, a gland in his neck swelled up …
I went and saw the Cheetahs team doctor. I told him I wasn’t feeling sick, but had a swollen neck gland so something wasn’t right.
He referred me to a specialist, who cut out the gland and sent it to be tested.
When I saw him again, he told me I had cancer.
I was in shock and in tears. I had played rugby the previous Saturday and felt fine, so I didn’t understand how I could have cancer. I also didn’t know much about cancer at the time, so I thought I was done.
Fortunately, I was sent to an awesome oncologist in Bloemfontein, who told me my cancer – Hodgkin lymphoma – wasn’t too bad, but that we had to treat it now before it got worse.
He said it was a rare cancer normally found in babies and small children, but that I would be fine and able to play rugby again.
He sent me for loads of tests and scans, and then I had three weeks of radiation therapy. It made me tired. My throat was very sore and I couldn’t swallow properly. I was still able to train but couldn’t play.
When I went for a check-up after the radiation therapy, I was told the cancer was gone, which was obviously a huge relief.
I started training again with the Cheetahs in November. We then had a break in December and resumed training in January. I wasn’t yet feeling 100%, but I got fitter and stronger.
I played a few warm-up games and then in February, just before the Cheetahs were set to tour Europe, I broke my leg during a training session.
It was a freak injury. A player tackled another player, and one of them swung around and hit my leg just below my knee. I broke my tibia and fibula.
I was sidelined for nine long months, but my leg is now completely healed and feels great.
I’m back in the Cheetahs squad and really looking forward to making my return against the Ospreys in Swansea on Saturday.
As told to Simon Borchardt