Casey O'Brien announced a week ago his retirement from the Gophers football team, where the holder went from walk-on to Big Ten inspiration in his four years on the team.
O'Brien is a five-time cancer survivor, first diagnosed with osteosarcoma at age 13. He's since had 18 surgeries, including a full knee replacement and several lung operations. But in the 2019 season, he made his collegiate debut in a year when his journey became a national story that touched many across college football.
O'Brien chatted with Gophers radio analyst Justin Gaard for his podcast and shared a little more about what his future will look like. He plans to start a job as a financial planner with RBC Wealth Management in mid-February, adding he felt like it was the right time to move on from the team knowing the toll football took on his body as well as how he had accomplished everything he wanted from the sport.
But O'Brien won't just be working a regular 9-5. He's continuing his work with M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, where he's received treatment and built relationships with other young cancer patients. He hopes to soon join the ranks of former Wild player Jason Zucker and Vikings player Kyle Rudolph in leaving a lasting legacy at the hospital.
So in the next few weeks, he'll start the process of raising $1 million to rename the hospital's ninth floor, where O'Brien had his chemo, as the Team 1-4 Infusion Clinic.
"We're going to sit down with patients and find out what things they want in their rooms, whether it's bigger TVs or video game systems or more sunlight to come through the windows," O'Brien said on the podcast. "And were going to find out exactly what those kids need, and we're going to redo the floor."