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Cancer survivor Luke Laufenberg to play for UTEP

National Signing Day saw UTEP add 32 new signees — including six from El Paso — to the football roster.

But ABC-7 wanted to focus on one new player who had to overcome a health battle on top of attempting to land a spot on a Division I college roster.

Luke Laufenberg, a tight end from Dallas, had been diagnosed with leukemia. According to the Dallas News website, Laufenberg had Burkitt leukemia, which the National Cancer Institute describes as “fast growing” and “rare.”

Sports Day Dallas News reported that Laufenberg was diagnosed the day after Christmas in 2017, and that the doctors told his parents that the disease had infiltrated 95 percent of their son’s bone marrow. He was forced to undergo seven months of chemotherapy.

The conclusion to life-threatening battle came days before the 19-year-old’s birthday in May of 2018. Laufenberg’s father, Brandon ‘Babe’ Laufenberg tweeted on May 3, “This tight end was pronounced cancer free today! I can say I have never been more proud of anything in my life than the way @LukeLaufenberg battled his ass off. He has shown me what it means to compete.” Dallas Cowboys fans may know Babe Laufenberg — he is a former QB with the Cowboys and a current color analyst on the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network.

Luke Laufenberg tweeted a photo in December, along with a statement thanking doctors, nurses, family and friends and officially announced his commitment to UTEP. Along with the statement, Laufenberg tweeted, “The difference a year makes. Couldn’t be more excited to get to work with my new family! Thanks for the opportunity @CoachDimelUTEP!!”

Fans will be waiting to see Laufenberg and the 31 other new signees take to the field during the season opener against Houston Baptist University on Aug. 31 in the Sun Bowl.

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