MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — University of Minnesota placeholder and four-time cancer survivor Casey O’Brien has been honored by the Big Ten after his performance Saturday.
On Monday, the Minnesota team announced O’Brien was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week.
The Minnesota walk-on made his first collegiate appearance Saturday in the Golden Gophers’ 42-7 victory over Rutgers. O’Brien was the holder on three successful PAT’s for No. 20 Minnesota (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten).
He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, when he was a freshman in high school. With Saturday’s outcome well in hand, Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck called O’Brien’s No. 14 to hold for the point after for the Golden Gophers’ fourth extra point of the game.
After the kick, the entire team mobbed him on the field.
O’Brien had nine months of chemotherapy and reconstructive knee surgery that lasted more than eight hours after his freshman year of high school. He convinced his doctors to convert from quarterback to placeholder.
O’Brien is the sixth Gopher to be recognized by the conference this year. The team leads the conference with honorees this year.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)