The Commerce Journal

August 8, 2008

Volleyball coach battling cancer and opposing teams

Steve Shwarts

When you think of Commerce High School head volleyball coach Kelsey Hall, you think of someone young, healthy, having energy and the whole world ahead of him.

Unfortunately, looks in Hall’s case can be deceiving as he’s facing the fight of his life. Hall has osteosarcoma, which is a type of bone cancer that develops on a long bone in the body. In coach Hall’s case, it developed on his leg or knee to be exact.

Hall, who’s had a tumor on his leg since at least the fifth grade, injured his knee a couple of summers ago at the lake but felt no pain until Nov. 2007. Although he’s hardly ever been sick a day in his life, Hall thought he had a bum knee.

But the pain would not go away so Hall visited his doctor to see what was wrong. That’s when he got the shock of a lifetime — he received the diagnosis of osteosarcoma.

Hall had surgery on his knee in Dec. 2007 to remove the tumor that was giving him pain and thought everything would be all right. But in Jan. 2008, Hall got a call from his oncologist telling him he would have to undergo chemotherapy treatments on his knee because the tumor the doctor removed turned out to be cancerous.

Hall underwent chemo treatments in February, March, April and May, thinking his worst days were over. But alas, in June 2008, he was told he had a new tumor on his knee and would have to undergo more chemo treatments and have another operation on his knee.

Hall is scheduled to undergo surgery at the end of August or the first part of September. The good news is the chemotherapy treatments he has been receiving since June seem to have him headed in the right direction. The tumor on his knee is shrinking.

“The cancer that I have is very curable in most cases and just depends on how my body responds to surgery and treatments,” Hall said. “I feel real good the way things have gone so far. That I feel healthy, have energy, very seldom get sick at all. You would never know I had this type of cancer if I had not been told.”

He expects to be coaching at most of the girls volleyball games this year.

“We’re starting over with a bunch of freshman, sophomores and juniors since we had a lot of graduates last year,” he said “I, however, feel that the team should be very successful this upcoming year if all the younger girls perform as I think they will.”

Hall is also the head girls golf coach at Commerce High School, as well as the assistant girls basketball coach. Hall is very optimistic that he can beat osteosarcoma.

If the chemotherapy treatments keep shrinking the tumor and the surgery is successful, then coach Hall can probably look forward to a complete recovery.

Hall said that he would be at as many girls’ volleyball games as possible.

“The doctors would have to pull me off the bench to keep me from coaching,” he said.