NFL at Wembley: Robert Quinn defies benign brain tumour to shine for Rams

Rams defensive end determined to make the most of life

By Rob Lancaster - Tweet me: @SkySportsLanny.   Last Updated: 27/10/12 7:34pm

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We've all been there. We've all had that moment in our sporting lives after a heavy defeat when someone, quite often your mother, says "never mind, it's only a game." You think that they don't fully understand, that they don't realise how much it hurts.

Robert Quinn, however, would agree entirely with the statement.

On Sunday the defensive end will be doing all he can to try and help the St Louis Rams upset the odds and defeat the New England Patriots in this year's International Series clash at Wembley.

"I heard everything from I won't be able to play sport again to I'll be brain dead."
Robert Quinn

However, things could have been very, very different for the 22-year-old, who was picked by the Rams in the first round of the 2011 draft and has quickly become a key component of their team.

Back in 2007, when he was still at high school, Quinn was diagnosed with a brain tumour. A promising young athlete suddenly went from thinking about his long-term future to wondering just how much longer he might have left.

Headaches

"It had been my senior year in high school and I had been getting migraine-type headaches every time I woke up and every time I went to sleep," he explained.

"It went on for a while and in October, one day in school I went in to school with headaches and I had a black out in the middle of the hallway and I thought it was from just not eating.

"I just went on about my business and then I got up one morning and I blacked out in the morning and my parents were there. My dad slapped me in my face and my mom said 'that's enough now', so I went to the hospital and they discovered I had a brain tumour."

Surgery, thankfully, revealed the tumour to be benign. Quinn was able to return to doing what he does best on the field, harassing quarterbacks. The whole experience, though, did have a profound change to his outlook.

"I heard everything from I won't be able to play sport again to I'll be brain dead," he added. "I heard it all, and I guess going through that experience changed my outlook on life.

"Some things may be bad but they're not as bad as they seem so I guess in a way live life to the full and don't take things for granted.

"I feel I have been given a second chance, not just at playing football but at life, so I try to make the most out of that."

While Quinn continues to have regular check-ups "just to make sure nothing is going crazy up there", his main concern is helping to try and bring back the good times to the Rams.

This year there are signs of an upturn in St Louis' fortunes too, and although they have arrived in the English capital off the back of two straight defeats, new coach Jeff Fisher has them in contention in the highly-competitive AFC West.

"The Patriots have definitely been a lead team for I don't know how many years, top in the league," Quinn said. "I guess I'll have a smile on my face and play the best and put on the best as well. It just makes the game a lot more fun as well."

It seems only right that someone who has been through so much off the field should take to the famous turf at Wembley wearing a smile. Because, after all, Quinn knows it is only a game.

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