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Sooner gives Iowa State's Mitchell Meyers message of hope through cancer battle

Austin Woods doesn't know Mitchell Meyers personally. But there might not be anyone who knows what Meyers is going through better.

Meyers, one of Iowa State's top defensive players, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma earlier this year.

Three years ago as a junior offensive lineman at Oklahoma, Woods was diagnosed with the same.

"I've read his story," Woods said. "It's very similar. You're a young guy in the best shape of your life, playing football. Then you go to the doctor and they tell you you have cancer. That's really tough."

But as Meyers has fallen into one of the fights of his life, Woods has a message of hope for the Cyclones' defensive end.

Today, Woods remains in remission. He's in his second year as an offensive quality control coach for the Sooners. It was hardly easy, but he was able to practice through the exhausting chemotherapy treatments during the spring and summer and ultimately fill a key reserve role on the Oklahoma offensive line that 2012 season.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel," Woods said.

Meyers, a defensive lineman who was one of only four Iowa State players to start all 12 games last season as a sophomore, has declined to do interviews since his diagnosis became public. He did release a statement last month that he was "determined to embrace the process and fight this with a positive attitude."

Woods says such a positive attitude is paramount.

"That's the only thing you can control," Woods said. "You can't control how you feel after the chemo. But you can control your attitude. That's the one thing that helped me get through it."

Woods said he was fortunate in that the chemotherapy didn't debilitate him to the point he couldn't go to class or even work out with the team. He didn't lose his hair or drop a ton of weight, either. But as Woods notes, everyone has a different reaction to the treatments. The important part, Woods said, is not to view yourself as a victim.

"You have to keep trucking along," Woods said. "It's hard. After four hours of getting chemicals pumped into you, you get frustrated. There are days you don't want to get up. You're gonna feel tired. You're gonna feel bad. But you can't feel sorry for yourself. You can't see yourself as being ill."

Woods, however, said his support system was his biggest asset to beating the cancer.

"I couldn't have gotten through it without them," Woods said of his family, his friends and his teammates. "They kept me going. They didn't treat me differently. That meant a lot."

Meyers seems to have a similar support system in Ames, where he's staying to get his treatment.

"I have the greatest teammates in the world," he added in his statement. "It's been humbling to see their care and words of encouragement."

Meyers is hoping to play football again, perhaps as soon as this fall. But for now, he's focused on getting better.

"I just hope my story can inspire him," Woods said. "Help him to get through what he's going through."