More To Life Than Football: Tyler Farrar

Last June, I had the honor of talking to one Bay City prep player whose story was so inspiring, I had to write an article about it. Tyler Farrar, a punter/kicker for Bay City beat was diagnosed with cancer during his junior year in high school and overcame it. His courage, faith in God, and high spirits allowed him to overcome the cancer initially. Last night, Tyler Farrar passed away.

Tyler Farrar will not be forgotten. He didn't lose his battle with cancer; Tyler was much too competitive to let that happen. Cancer was simply too much. It took his life, but the courage that Tyler Farrar showed was greater than any player that I have talked to in the course of covering high school athletics.

In this business, there are not a lot of stories that really capture the spirit of life as does the story of one Bay City High School football player. Touched by his story, but even more honored to talk with him, BearsIllustrated.com brings to you the story of one high school football player's courageous return to football. Read more inside.

Most high school students have a lot to deal with. Social concerns, academic responsibilities, and athletic duties generally are the main issues that high school students must face. For Tyler Farrar, it was cancer.

A place kicker and punter for powerhouse Bay City, Tyler Farrar had everything working for him on the field. Converting 35 of 36 extra points midway into the high school football season, and drilling field goals from 54 and 60 yards in practice, Tyler Farrar enjoyed being a part of his team's success on the field. One Thursday in October changed everything.

Before being diagnosed with cancer, in the form of a tumor on his lower back, Farrar knew something was not right. A few weeks prior, Farrar had a bit of pain near his tailbone.

"I felt like I was sitting on a bone everytime I sat down. I went to a chiropractor and he told me nothing was wrong. He said I just needed to stretch more."

Farrar followed the instructions given to him, but still felt the same pain.

"I went to a doctor and he gave me some anit-inflammatory pills. He told me I needed to stretch more also."

After more stretching, and after having a sports specialist tell him that nothing was wrong, Farrar had an MRI done. On one Thursday in October, Tyler was told that he had a cancerous tumor. This teenager's passion for football, however, trumped his worries about his condition.

"We went directly to MD Anderson, but we waited a weekend for the best doctors. That Friday night I played football. I was on the field."

After the game, Tyler traveled to MD Anderson and had tests conducted all week. He had a biopsy done. Tyler Farrar really had only one question for the doctors. "Can I play next Friday?"

Although the doctors were not certain whether Tyler would need a stint or not, Tyler wanted to be on the field. If a stint was inserted, his chance to play would be erased.

"The doctors said you don't need a stint, you can play. I got a letter from them, and I got to play. I was 6 for 6 on extra points."

Tyler's football sesaon came to an end after that game however.

"We went to the hospital the next week. I spent 15 days at the hospital, and got the first round of chemotherapy. Every three weeks, I got another round of chemotherapy."

"The difficult part was just not being home. Not being with my family and my friends. But I am done now. I am done with all my treatments."

Tyler explains that God, his family and friends, and his high spirits helped him get through it. Tyler also mentions that his body reacted well to his treatments because of his physical condition.

"I was lucky. I was strong and in good physical condition. My spirits were always high. Everyone told me that they never saw my spirit get down."

So now, Tyler Farrar is making a comeback. Working out everyday and playing soccer are helping him get back to his old form. Currently, Tyler stands 6' and weighs 148 pounds. Although he will be classified as a junior, this may be the last year the UIL allows him to play football. Tyler is hoping that a waiver could possibly allow him to play his senior year as well.

His parents graduated from Baylor University, and his older sister currently is enrolled at Baylor. So is Baylor the place Tyler wants to be?

"I am interested in Baylor, but I don't know what I want to do yet as far as my career goes. I still have some time to think about that. I want to play in the Big 12, but I know I have a long way to go."

Tyler Farrar dealt with and had overcome something that most of us hope we never have to face. As sports fans, we get uneasy as the kicker waits for the snap as we wonder if he can make the kick. For Tyler Farrar, it's what he lived for.

Tyler Farrar was taken from this world early this week, but his legend and his courage will live on forever.

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