Play Ball: Rox Outfielder Chad Bible Overcomes Cancer
For over a year, Rox outfielder Chad Bible was always tired. Slamming energy drinks didn’t work, and he was falling asleep in class. He wondered if he was simply being lazy.
Soon, he started having strange symptoms-- feet that itched until they would bleed at night, tumors in his neck and chin, and that constant fatigue that seemed to just be getting worse and worse. So, like most of us would do, Bible took to the internet for a diagnosis.
“I did some research on Google, and it said that (the itching and bleeding) might be a sign of advanced cancer,” Bible said at a recent Rox practice at Acceleration Sports Center. “I was like, oh, I better get to the doctor.”
Even before he received the official diagnosis, Bible had a pretty good idea what was wrong with him. He just didn’t want to believe it.
“Honestly, I was kind of in denial,” Bible said. “But, from things I was reading online, I kind of knew I had cancer, like a gut feeling.
“When the doctor told me, it was a shock for sure,” Bible said. “I didn’t believe I had it, because I didn’t want to have it.”
Bible found out he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on January 10th, 2017. He had been suffering with it for about a year before being diagnosed, and the cancer was fairly advanced by the time it was caught.
“It was Stage 2B, which means advanced symptoms,” Bible said. “It was kind of far along, but with blood cancers they can take a while to become something else.”
He began treatment about a month after being diagnosed and was, at first, able to stay involved with his college baseball team at San Diego State. It was Bible’s first year with the Aztecs after transferring from College of the Canyons.
“During the first two rounds of chemo, I was still able to take batting practice and mess around on the field,” Bible explained. “As the chemo progressed, around round four, is when I started losing weight, getting really tired and losing my hair. “
Bible says that he lost around 40 lbs. and was down to 175 lbs. after starting treatment at about 215. He was declared cancer-free in August of 2017.
Despite some low points along the way, the 22-year-old Valencia, California native says that his positive attitude, a strong support system, and God helped him in his fight.
“I was 100 percent not going to let cancer win,” Bible said. “But there were definitely times in which I would go to sleep not knowing if I would wake up in the morning.
“It’s hard to explain what cancer is like, or what chemo is like,” Bible said. “(The chemo) is what kills you, as far as feeling bad, the best way I can describe it is that you are slowly dying.”
Bible says even though he isn’t a highly religious guy (“Despite the fact my last name is Bible,” he jokes), God definitely was his biggest source of inspiration during his fight.
“God for sure was my number one,” Bible said. “I definitely got closer to God and definitely leaned on him in my own way.”
Bible also wondered how his diagnosis would affect his ability to play the game he loves, saying he was able to draw inspiration from other athletes who have beaten cancer. He said cases like Anthony Rizzo, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2007 while with the Boston Red Sox organization, and Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Connor, who was diagnosed at Pitt in 2015, helped him stay positive.
“Rizzo had the same cancer I did, he beat it and now he is in the MLB,” Bible said. “So, it gave me some hope it’s not something that’s going to end my baseball career.”
Since being diagnosed, Bible has been featured in various news stories and television shows. He even was invited to ride on the City of Hope float in the 129th Rose Parade on January 1st of this year.
He says people have approached him to let him know he has been an inspiration to them, but he is quick to let them know he believes they would have the strength to do the same thing he did.
“It’s great to hear, but I always tell people if you were put in my shoes, with the circumstances I was, (they) would come out on top, too,” Bible said. “People don’t give themselves enough credit sometimes when credit is due.”
Rox manager Al Newman says he heard about Bible because he comes from Newman’s alma mater, SDSU, where the redshirt junior hit .327 this season in 58 games, with 11 doubles and a .385 on-base percentage.
“I didn’t know if he had played at all this season,” Newman said. “He told me that he played this year and hit nine home runs and had a .300 batting average.
“I just wanted to get a feel for his health, and what his situation would be here for the Rox,” Newman said in between batting practice sessions.
“Never once in my career have I dealt with a guy that’s going through what he has,” Newman said. “It says a lot about his determination to remain on the field.”
The first-year Rox manager says he plans to try to get Bible in the lineup every three to four days.
“My goal is just to help the Rox win,” Bible said. “It’s a team thing, not an individual thing, as long as I can help the team win, I can be happy.”
So far, Bible has been impressed with the city of St. Cloud, as well as the atmosphere at Joe Faber Field.
“St. Cloud is small… I mean, I am from San Diego and Los Angeles,” Bible said with a smile. “I hear a lot of the accents which can be super funny, but honestly St. Cloud is a great place.”
“Joe Faber Field is a great stadium and the fans are really cool,” Bible said. “Coming from a school that averages 700 fans a game, it’s pretty awesome having all these people come to the games.”
Bible says his cancer wasn’t a factor in deciding whether or not to leave California for St. Cloud, although it will have an effect on his schedule this summer.
“I didn’t really think about the cancer part too much,” Bible said. “I will have to leave at some point this summer to go back and get a scan, to make sure nothing’s coming back.
“I am always at the hospital once in a while, every three months for the next five years,” Bible said. “But, the news is always good now.”