UAB’s Luis Hurtado triumphant in basketball comeback

College Sports

BIRMINGHAM (WIAT)–Adversity and sports walk hand-in-hand. Every player has a story to tell. Some struggle for playing time. Others overcoming an injury.

Luis Hurtado wasn’t that lucky.

“At first, I was confused,” Hurtado said. “I was shocked. Why is this happening to me?”

One year ago, finishing his freshman season, Hurtado started feeling pain in his stomach and his lower back.

“I remember being on the road at UT San Antonio,” head coach Rob Ehsan said. “He said ‘Coach I couldn’t sleep last night. I was on the floor all night.’ So that’s when I became really concerned and thought maybe there was something more going on.”

A few weeks later, the diagnosis from the doctors came back. Testicular cancer.

“This early in my career, what have I done?” Hurtado said. “Then you start questioning yourself; when you realize everything happens for a reason.”

For Hurtado that reason was to show everyone he can fight.

“Since day one I was positive,” Hurtado said. “There was no way I could be negative about it.”

On June 6, after four months of chemotherapy, Hurtado finished his cancer treatment.

“That was the best feeling of my life so far; knowing that was my last day going to that clinic, getting the medicine, being there from morning to afternoon,” Hurtado said.

But the fight wasn’t over. It was the next four months that really tested his guts.

“His conditioning levels were low,” Ehsan said, “Credit to Luis. He has worked extremely hard to get back into physical condition.”

And then came November 20, the comeback.

“I had butterflies in my stomach. It was the day where you’re coming back from all you’ve been through this past year.”

Hurtado got in the game a few minutes in with Mount St. Mary’s and made his first career three pointer.

“That’s the basketball gods making sure that one went in for Luis and everything he’s been through,” Ehsan said.

Hurtado is living proof that life is not fair. He has a ways to go before he’s 100 perfect back on the court. But the only thing that matters is how you respond to what life gives you.

“Whatever it comes I am going to take it,” Hurtado said. “How many minutes I am going to play. How many games I play. I cant control that. So I worry about getting myself better. I worry about getting my teammates better. So everything is going to come to me and when it comes I believe I am ready for it, so I am grateful of the opportunity.”

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