Ottawa University freshman football player Bryce Steiner won the battle with cancer this past winter.

Steiner played football, basketball and baseball for Claflin High School. He started to have knee pain during his senior football season.

“The trainers told me I probably had a tear or something in there,” he said. “It wasn’t great, but it was something I was going to play through. I didn’t want to miss my senior year in football.”

Steiner prepared for the worst when he saw the doctor.

“The MRI came home black,” Steiner said. “They had no clue about what was going on.”

The doctor immediately ordered a bone biopsy.

“It turned out I had lymphoma,” Steiner said. “It started pretty quick. Less than a month later, I started treatment.”

Steiner spent 13 weeks of treatment in Kansas City, Mo., with chemotherapy 24 hours a day every day.

“It wasn’t easy to be laying down for hours,” he said. “I never got sick.

“My doctor said he thought I was going to play again, but didn’t know how soon. At first, he was talking about years.”

A few months later, he was back on the field.

“I got to play in two all-star football games this summer before I came here,” Steiner said.

He was recruited in a different way. Steiner’s father, Chris, is a former Braves player and they came for a visit. While on campus, they met assistant football coach Wendell Smith, a former teammate of the elder Steiner.

The next day, Steiner got a text message from the Braves coaches.

“That is where the recruiting process began,” he said. “I love it here. Everybody is real nice. It feels like family here.”

Steiner plans to major in physical education and would like to coach.

“My dad is a high school football coach and I would like to help him with that,” Steiner said.