Leaf recovering nicely after brain surgery

JUST HOURS AFTER undergoing successful surgery this past Wednesday to remove what turned out to be benign tumors from his brain, Washington State quarterbacking legend and Cougfan.com columnist Ryan Leaf was resting comfortably and joking with family and friends in a Los Angeles-area hospital. "I am recovering well," Leaf said in a statement today.

Leaf, 35, lauded the efforts of Dr. Daniel Kelly and his team at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, where the seven-hour surgery was performed.

Kelly is an internationally recognized neurosurgeon and the director of St. John's brain tumor center. Leaf, who has been surrounded by family members all week, was released from the hospital Saturday.

The mass was discovered earlier this month by doctors in Leaf's hometown of Great Falls. The 1997 All-American and Heisman Trophy runner-up had been bothered by blurred vision and dizziness.

"I am looking forward to resting a bit, and being with my family, healing together," Leaf said in his statement. "Thank you for all the prayers and support, my whole family truly appreciated it. This was just another bridge for me to cross. I will continue to live each day to the fullest and give back where I can," Leaf said.

The health scare arrives at a time when Leaf is hitting full stride in life. He just finished an initial draft of the book he's writing about his four years at Washington State -- the first of three books he's signed on to write for Crimson Oak Publishing -- and he's approaching the third anniversary of kicking his addiction to prescription painkillers. He's also reemerged in the sports world, writing regular columns for Cougfan.com, working as a guest commentator on sports radio shows in Seattle and San Diego, and tutoring young quarterbacks such as Jeff Tuel.

"In true Ryan style, he's hit this health challenge straight on, with determination, energy and optimism," a source familiar with the situation told CF.C. "He's in great spirits, great humor, and looking forward to picking up where he left off."

Well wishes can be sent to Leaf at his Twitter account (@RyanDLeaf) or on Facebook at Ryan D Leaf.

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