NFL: Washington Coach Ron Rivera Shares Message for Next President on Healthcare

by Suzanne Halliburton

Washington coach Ron Rivera is urging the winner of the presidential election to give his fellow citizens the kind of healthcare that helped save his life.

Rivera recently completed his chemotherapy treatment for squamous cell cancer. Hours before his Washington team beat the Dallas Cowboys, 25-3, Oct. 26, Rivera rang the bell to end his treatment. Doctors and nurses applauded him and threw confetti to celebrate.

While speaking with reporters, Rivera implored Donald Trump or Joe Biden to keep some version of the Affordable Care Act. He said he didn’t care about political party, either Republican or Democrat.

I don’t know who the president is going to be, but I will say this, having gone through what I’ve gone through in the last probably 12 weeks from my diagnosis: we need to have some form of Affordable Care Act,” Rivera said. “I think there’s a group of Americans that need to be covered, that need to have the benefit of that, and we need to figure it out quickly.

“Because I’m serious. I saw what it costs, I saw what it means. I’m very fortunate that I’m under the NFL medical plan, the one that [Washington owner Dan] Snyder has set up for our team,” he said. “But I can only imagine what it is for Americans who don’t have it. And for us to be one of the richest countries in the world and not have a good medical plan for our citizens is disappointing.”

Ron Rivera Diagnosed in August But Kept Coaching

While his team was in training camp, Rivera, 58, was diagnosed in August. In a statement issued by Washington, Rivera said his cancer was “very treatable and curable.”

He said the squamous cell cancer that was found in a lymph node was caught in its early stages. Rivera continued coaching through the treatment.

“I’m planning to go on coaching,” Rivera told ESPN at the time. “Doctors encouraged me to do it too. They said, ‘If you feel strongly, do it. Don’t slow down, do your physical activities.’ But everyone keeps telling me by week three or four, you’ll start feeling it.”