(Editor's Note: The New York Jets' 2013 Yearbook has been sent to the printer and will be available beginning the week of July 22, which is also the week that training camp opens at SUNY Cortland. To whet your appetites for the book, each Tuesday we're presenting short excerpts of stories that will be appearing in the book. Today's excerpt: Eric Allen's intro to the Jets strength program focusing on the powerful backstory of first-year head strength and conditioning coach Justus Galac.)
New Jets head strength coach Justus Galac loves football so much that it literally almost cost him his life.
Before his senior season at SUNY Brockport in 2001, Galac discovered a testicular lump and did not seek out medical attention. Instead the co-captain played on at nose tackle while the lump grew. The Eagles made the postseason and then Galac tried out for the Rochester Brigade of Arena Football II.
“I just chose not to say anything because I was like, ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,’ a Division III football player getting an opportunity to continue to play and I loved to play," he said. "It was an opportunity to actually touch a football for once in my life instead of being a lineman.”
With the Brigade, Galac was slated to play fullback and linebacker. Three months into his Arena League journey, he received a blessing when he was released.
“That day I went home and called my mother and kind of said I was cut,” he said. “Then it was, ‘There’s something wrong here. I have to go see a doctor.’ I went to the doctor basically the next day and kind of got it all taken care of, and I would definitely say it was a blessing in disguise to get cut.”
Galac underwent successful surgery and fortunately the cancer had not spread. He survived despite making a youthful choice that put his life in jeopardy.
“It’s nothing that I shy away from, but for me personally I don’t want to say something and have people feel like I’m looking for some type of sympathy or something,” he said. “I really am proud of what I’ve been able to do after that. I was 21 years old. I was not at the smartest age of my life. What I did was a mistake and I was fortunate enough to make it through it. It’s part of who I am, though. It’s still part of my makeup.”