HS player inspires after amputation
Eduard Nogay doesn’t want to be considered remarkable. He wants to be thought of as another student, another volleyball player at Ft. Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, New York.
But Nogay fought back to play this season despite having his right arm amputated after cancer was discovered by his elbow, then the disease spreading to his lungs.
According to the New York Daily News, doctors surgically removed Nogay's arm this past Halloween, then Nogay suffered collapsed lungs twice over a four-month span. But he defiantly returned to the court in time for the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) playoffs in early May.
“I don’t want to say it has all just rolled off him, because he did understand it was serious,” Eddie’s coach, Kim Tolve, told the New York Post. “But he has been able to rebound. ... Even the doctors and the nurses said they’d never seen a 17-year-old deal with this type of heartache and strife without flinching.
“It’s a testament to the kind of kid he is. He’s a fighter.’’
Volleyball is a comfort zone for Nogay, a senior.
“As a person, it makes me feel normal when I’m out on the court,” Nogay told the Daily News from his hospital bed last week, where he remains after nearly fainting in mid-May because a low hemoglobin level left him anemic. “It helps me forget about all the problems.”
Nogay was born in Uzbekistan and came to the US in 1999. His family always kept an eye on the lump by his right elbow. An MRI taken in 2005 indicated it wasn’t a concern.
The area became a problem when it began to hurt last year. A subsequent biopsy revealed a sarcoma and, when neither radiation nor chemotherapy had the desired result, the decision was made to amputate a large portion of Eddie’s arm, the Post reported.
“But after that surgery, the scans came back and [the cancer] had spread into my main [arm] nerves,” Nogay told the paper. “Their first choice was to do a fourquarter amputation, which is basically taking the whole shoulder, including the collar bone.”
“He’s the strongest guy I’ve ever met,” teammate Dennis Dikarev. “I’m kind of inspired by him. ... He’s still the same kid. I know if it was me I wouldn’t be that strong about it. But he embraces it.’’
Nogay doesn't like to use his prosthesis because it’s uncomfortable.
The cancer spread into his lungs, necessating the insertion of a tube into his lungs in April. His doctors didn’t want him to return to the court but Nogay was not to be denied.
Nogay planned on returning for the playoffs, a matchup against Christopher Columbus HS on May 7.
“The two teams are in warmups and everybody’s looking for Eddie,” Tolve said. “He kind of snuck into the school through the back entrance, and he comes walking into the gym with his uniform on, his kneepads on, a smile on his face and a letter in his hand. And that just got the guys all fired up. It was hard to hold back the tears.”
“I just wanted to surprised them because it was already three weeks they hadn’t seen me in a uniform,” said Nogay, who was limited but earned a kill in the first point he played in.
Inspired by Nogay, Ft. Hamilton won, 2-1.