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DuRocher On Course For Return
Release: 12/13/2006
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Dec. 13, 2006

The Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Before his brain surgery, Johnny Durocher thought he'd been promised he wouldn't lose any of his hair. But sure enough, when DuRocher awoke from surgery on Nov. 30, the entire back of his head was shaved.

"Oh, the hair," the Washington backup quarterback said Wednesday. "It's growing back, which is good. It's not that big of a deal really, as long as my hair is long for baseball season."

His precious hair getting shaved might not be the only thing that caught DuRocher by surprise.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since his surgery to remove a noncancerous brain tumor, DuRocher said he has been informed by his doctors that there is a slight chance he might be able to play football again.

Before the delicate surgery, performed by neurosurgeon Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, DuRocher was told there was no chance the junior quarterback would see the field again for Washington. According to DuRocher, that's now changed.

"We'll have to wait and see until it heals up completely, and if my parents sign off on the idea, maybe I can come back and play," DuRocher said.

"When I talked to them before the surgery, they said there was no chance, and then after the surgery he said there is a chance."

DuRocher's intent is to play baseball for Washington in the spring and then, with the advice of his family, decide whether to pursue playing football again. DuRocher would love to suit up for the Huskies during his senior year, but right after the surgery, his father was against his son playing again.

"I wouldn't like to see him play again just because he's got a plate in his head with screws," John DuRocher Sr., said on Dec. 1. "It's probably a totally different process if your son is the starter and has a chance to go pro. But why risk it?"

DuRocher found out he had a brain tumor after he suffered a concussion in Washington's 20-3 loss to Stanford on Nov. 11. He was take to the UW Medical Center for a CAT scan and doctors noticed an abnormality. A series of MRIs confirmed the tumor.

DuRocher was cleared on Tuesday to resume working out and plans on being at the first Washington baseball practice on Jan. 15.

DuRocher hasn't played baseball since he was a sophomore in high school; he was a catcher then. He hopes to be a pitcher on the Huskies' roster when they open the season Feb. 16 at Cal Poly.

DuRocher quarterbacked in two games for the Huskies this season, completing five of 17 passes for one touchdown and 44 yards, with two interceptions. He transferred to Washington after redshirting as a freshman at the University of Oregon in 2003.

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