LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — It's a common phrase in sports: "Control what you can control."
At one point, it was very little for Kentucky football's Josh Paschal. The defensive lineman was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in August 2018 after he went to the doctor for small dark spot on the sole of his foot.
Paschal had to trust others, very literally, with his life.
"You know when someone just tells you something and it really catches you off guard?" Paschal said. "I was really just trying to calm my family down, if that makes sense, during that time because I knew it would probably hit them harder."
It was difficult time for Paschal, too. Treatment required more surgeries and monthly trips to the hospital. And that breakout sophomore season? Well, that would have to wait.
"Going through rough times like that, it really just brings out the best in people," Paschal said. "My roommates back then would come after camp and they could be dead tired, but if I needed anything they'd go get it for me. They'd come in and play (video games), just have fun. I really appreciate all of them for that because at that moment it's easy to just let it go by."
With his support system at his side and Big Blue Nation behind him, Paschal returned to the field in November 2018, just months after his diagnosis.
"I just learned to stay patient during that time," Paschal said. "It wasn't like an injury. I couldn't rehab 24/7 to get back. I had to trust my doctors that they were going to get me the best medicine possible. I had to trust my teammates. I just had to learn to trust everybody."
In August, Paschal announced on Twitter that he had undergone his final immunotherapy treatment.
"That was a time that I just really felt like I could reflect," Paschal said of his first time back on the field. "I sat back and could really pause and think about everything I went through, everyone that helped me through that situation, just to see how far I came to get to that point."
Paschal has started all eight of UK's games this season at both defensive end and outside linebacker, recording 26 tackles and a sack.
"I can look back and see how far I've come and realize that there's so many people in my life that have helped me get through this and get through the situation," Paschal said. "Getting the chance to say 'thank you' to them by just playing the game that I love again and winning with my team. It's fun."
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