Often, the struggles in Keene State College athletes’ lives are seen only through their play on the fields, courts, rinks and tracks.
The onlookers can only see an athlete as they are on the field, not knowing what goes on behind the scenes.
There are adversities in each and every athlete’s life.
This very struggle is a reality for first-year management major with a marketing specialization Brandon Beane, a member of the men’s soccer team who was recently diagnosed with Lemierre’s syndrome.
Lemierre’s Ssyndrome is an infection in which bacteria invades the lymph nodes in the neck, causing the formation of blood clots in the larger, jugular veins.
This clotting can also lead to inflammation and pus in the veins.
These infectious blood clots can travel from the jugular veins into the bloodstream, which then cause infectious pockets in other areas of the body such as the lungs, liver, kidneys and joints, according to rigiddiagnosis.com.
“I was originally diagnosed with [mononucleosis] the day I went home. A few days after, I was in a lot of pain and went to the hospital. There, an infectious disease doctor diagnosed me with Lemierre’s syndrome. This is a one and a million disease that most doctors have never even heard of. After being transferred from Parkland Medical Center in Derry, New Hampshire, to Portsmouth [Regional] Hospital, the doctors decided it was too much to handle and transferred me to [Massachusetts] General [Hospital], where I stayed for three weeks,” Beane stated in an email interview.
Beane grew up in Sandown, New Hampshire, and attended Timberlane Regional High School, where he started as a striker for his high school soccer team. Beane came to Keene State as a striker and strong athlete.
“It’s been a long month of hell in the hospital, and just thinking about going back to school and getting back into soccer is exciting. It’s something I’m still yet to experience,” Beane stated.
Even as a first-year, Beane has already made many connections and friends.
KSC sophomore Nate Flyzik, a long-time friend of Beane’s, reflected on his thoughts regarding him as a player and person.
“I met Brandon my sophomore year [of high school]. We both played soccer for Timberlane [Regional] High School, [in] New Hampshire and basically being a higher year in high school, we just kind of bonded through soccer. He was introduced into the program, did extremely well and just being in school and hanging out, we got to know each other. I think he is a leader in his own specific way. You can just see that Brandon would be a leader at Keene State and that he would make a difference in the community,” Flyzik said.
Flyzik added, “He’s an awesome person and he’s really strong, which is why…I think he’s going to come back twice as strong. I have no concerns with him and rebounding back and coming back to Keene State being an influential person.”
The Keene State community is one that always finds the ability to rally together and support their Owls.
This certainly applies for the men’s soccer team, whose members have strived to fully support Beane. Senior, safety major and KSC goalie Jason Smith said, “A bunch of us went to visit him when he was in the hospital and we do the Brando [his nickname] chant a lot [a chant in which the team cheers Brando before the game]. We also went to the hospital and presented him his number 20 home jersey. He’s still very much a part of our team.”
Fellow senior teammate Riley Steele said, “It’s unfortunate because we only got to play with him for a week or two before he got sick, but he was one of the most athletic kids on our team. Coming in as a freshman, he was one of the hardest working, one of the fastest freshman that came in, and that doesn’t even touch on the personal side. As a person, he was just such a fun kid to be around; he always brought smiles and laughter to every group that he was around. He just made the atmosphere in the room that much fun and exciting.”
With a strong team standing behind him, Beane talked about his own support system at home.
“My support group is awesome. My friends and family have been so great and I even have people I didn’t know be there for me throughout the way. It’s cool to see how supportive people are when you really need it,” Beane stated.
Beane added, “The soccer team has been awesome. They were the first to see how sick I was and they were there for me from the day I got sick to now. They’ve done so much for me in so many ways. It’s awesome to have people you met two weeks ago support you the way my teammates support me.”
With a long journey ahead, Beane takes his diagnosis day by day, but does not stand alone. KSC athletics has rallied together in support of Beane and his one goal now is “to get back to the healthy athletic kid [he] was a short time ago.”
“The sickness took a toll on my body and I’d like to get what I had back,” Beane stated.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org