Wales star David Brooks has blood cancer.
The 24-year-old Bournemouth midfielder has been diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin lymphoma but has vowed to make a full recovery.
Brooks tested last Tuesday after complaining of fatigue during training with his country, before being dropped for World Cup qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Estonia.
And he praised the prompt action of the Wells medical team that led to the early detection of the disease.
Brooks revealed: “It’s a very difficult message for me to write.
“I have been diagnosed with Stage II Hodgkin lymphoma and will begin a course of treatment next week.
“While it has come as a shock to me and my family, the prognosis is positive and I am confident that I will make a full recovery and will be back in play as soon as possible.
“I would like to commend the doctors, nurses, consultants and staff who have been treating me during this period for their professionalism, warmth and understanding.
“I want to thank everyone in the Football Association of Wales, because without the prompt attention of their medical team we could not have been diagnosed with the disease.
“I want to thank Bournemouth for all their support and assistance last week.
“While I appreciate that there will be media attention and interest, I would like to ask that my privacy is respected in the coming months and I will share an update on my progress when I am able to do so.
“In the meantime, thank you all for the messages of support – this means a lot and will continue to do so in the months to come.
“I look forward to seeing you all again and playing the game I love very soon.”
Brooks initially joined the Wales team for a recent international double-header.
But, when he was taken out of practice for the training session, he was sent for testing by the Welsh FA medical staff.
Last Wednesday he was officially withdrawn from Robert Page’s squad and after two rounds of tests, Brooks was handed the results over the weekend.
What is Hodgkin lymphoma?
Health Chief Lizzie Perry explains…
Hodgkin lymphoma is a rare cancer that affects the lymphatic system – which is part of the immune system.
It is a network of vessels and glands that carry infection-fighting white blood cells.
When a person has Hodgkin lymphoma, these blood cells multiply abnormally and accumulate in parts of the lymphatic system, losing their infection-fighting skills and making you more vulnerable to infection go.
The most common symptom is painless swelling of a lymph node, usually in the neck, armpit, or groin.
The disease can occur at any age, but mostly affects people in their early 20s, and those over 70. Men are slightly more likely to be diagnosed, and about 2,100 people are diagnosed each year.
Although it is an aggressive cancer, it is one of the easiest cancers to treat if caught early.
About 85 percent of patients will live five years or more, and most will recover.
Messages of support poured in yesterday for Brooks, who joined championship club Bournemouth from Sheffield United in 2018 for £11.5m and was part of the Wales squad at Euro 2020.
He was named Wales Footballer of the Year in 2019 and was even linked to a £40million move to Tottenham and Manchester United that summer.
Former Wales international striker John Hartson – who himself was diagnosed with cancer in July 2009 – tweeted: “Congratulations David Brooks.
“His family and close friends will give him all the support he needs. Stay strong and positive young Bruxie.”
Bournemouth Chief Executive Neil Blake said: “Everyone here will do whatever they can to help David and his family through his recovery.
“We are not putting any time limit on his return; We will give David all the time we can to recover and do everything we can to help him.”
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs, who has managed Brooks with Wales, said: “I am saddened to hear the news. Thankfully, the disease has been detected early and I am hopeful and confident of a full recovery.
“I am sure everyone in football will send their best wishes to him in his fight against the disease and hopefully see his amazing talent on the football pitch once again.”