football-fbs flag

Aaron Moody | The News & Observer | May 4, 2018

North Carolina State's Ben Kaiser beat cancer, gets another shot at football

  Kaiser has been granted a sixth-year waiver by the NCAA to make up for the time he missed while battling cancer

An N.C. State offensive lineman has been granted a sixth-year waiver by the NCAA to make up for the time he missed while battling cancer.

Ben Kaiser, who is now cancer-free, announced the news of his eligibility in a tweet on Thursday.

"I was just relieved, honestly," Kaiser said in an interview Thursday afternoon. "I'm just glad to be a part of this team again and get to play with the band of brothers."

Kaiser, who's 6-3 and 290 pounds, missed his freshman and sophomore seasons at Pasadena City College, a junior college in Pasadena, Calif., after being diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2013. He was declared cancer-free in spring 2014.

Coaches and doctors agreed it wasn't in his best interest to return for his 2014 sophomore season because Kaiser, who was a defensive lineman at the time, had dropped in weight, from 240 to 195 pounds.

Cancer, it turns out, became Kaiser's motivation.

"It's easy to fall into depression," he said. "For me, it was like, 'I'm going to play football again.' It was just a small hump to get over. It's given me a reason to get good grades in school, to get structure, and it's given me awesome friends that I'll have for a lifetime."

Kaiser transferred in 2016 to N.C. State, where he joined the football team as a walk-on.

Since the clock started ticking on his playing eligibility in 2013, when he was a redshirt freshman, the 2017 season would have been his last in college football. But he wasn't ready to walk away from the sport.

About the time N.C. State's 2017 football season was wrapping up, Kaiser said he started gathering medical documents to convince the NCAA he deserved another season.

MORE: USC blind long-snapper shows off his QB skills

Despite many unknowns surrounding his status for next season, Kaiser stayed with the Wolfpack in a volunteer role this spring and continued to work out like any other member of the team.

Kaiser -- whose only snap in two years at N.C. State came last fall against Carolina -- is ready for his final run in college football.

"It's just another opportunity for me to take advantage of this situation. I've been around the system two years now, so I understand how everything works around here," he said.

This article is written by Aaron Moody from The News & Observer and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Here's how the new two-minute overtime rule could change collegiate wrestling matches

The new NCAA overtime rules extended the length of the first sudden victory period to two minutes, creating more suspense and allowing for a riding time factor. What does that mean for athletes, and how would this rule have influenced the 2021 results? Let’s break it down.
READ MORE

College wrestling rankings: Iowa takes top spot in college wrestling, Ivy League returns

Here are the big takeaways from the first rankings of 2021-2022 and some thoughts on what we can expect from the nation’s best wrestlers as the season starts. 
READ MORE

Women's soccer: NC State upsets No. 3 North Carolina

NC State women's soccer beat No. 3 North Carolina on Saturday night, picking up its second top-5 win of the season.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners