Angels coach returns after surgery
Brogna was diagnosed with testicular cancer, but a full recovery is expected.
NEW YORK — Angels player information coach Rico Brogna returned this weekend after a four-week absence in which he had the scare of his life, a diagnosis of testicular cancer and surgery to remove a mass on May13.
“It’s very sobering, it’s immediate, it’s gripping,” said Brogna, who serves as a liaison between the front office and scouting staff and the coaches and players. “It’s like when you’re a kid and you’re called to the [principal’s] office. You think, ‘What did I do wrong?’ There’s a pit in your stomach. Magnify that times 100 with this call.”
Brogna, 45, felt a lump in his groin in spring training. “For six or seven weeks, I didn’t say anything, hoping it would go away,” Brogna said. It didn’t.
Brogna, who played nine years in the big leagues, finally consulted a trainer in early May. He had an ultrasound, and doctors suspected cancer. Brogna returned to his home state of Connecticut for surgery, and tests confirmed the cancer.
“I have a strong faith, but … I’m looking at my kids and wondering, ‘Am I going to die?’ ” said Brogna, who is married with a daughter, 17, and son, 12. “It was frightening, a weird, emotional roller coaster. But I’m still alive.”
Doctors told Brogna his cancer was contained, and tests showed it has not spread. Brogna’s prognosis for a full recovery is good. He will undergo CT scans every three months for two years.
“I’m kind of private, I’m not into the drama, but I also realize Ihave an opportunity to help somebody,” Brogna said. “Just get checked. I would have been the first to say, ‘I’m going to get checked. I’m not going to be stubborn.’ But I didn’t get it checked for a long time. If I had let it keep going, who knows?”