Watch: Out Athlete Fighting Rare Bone Infection Appeals for Help

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday July 27, 2021
Originally published on July 26, 2021

Eric Lueshen
Eric Lueshen  (Source:Instagram)

Out athlete Eric Lueshen is fighting a rare bone infection and needs the help of supporters, LGBTQ sports site Outsports reported.

"Lueshen was a kicker on the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team, where he was out to teammates as gay," the article recalled. "Since sharing his story on Outsports, he has dedicated his life to helping LGBTQ athletes and improving the environment in sports for LGBTQ people."

But the champion is in dire straits as he fights a bone infection, "undergoing surgery to remove abscesses" that affect "his entire right SC joint and surrounding bone and tissue," Outsports detailed.

In a direct appeal to fans, supporters, and the LGBTQ community, Lueshen made a YouTube video in which he reveals he is suffering from osteomyelitis, which WebMD describes as a serious infection suffered by only two of every 10,000 people. The infection, which can be difficult to detect, requires strong antibiotics and sometimes surgery to treat.

In his video, Lueshen describes the challenges he's facing and shows one of four abscesses, a visible swelling near his collarbone. Three of the abscesses are "around the size of a golf ball," Lueshen describes, "and the largest one is inside my chest cavity." The infection, Lueshen explains, is killing his bone tissue and the abscesses continue to grow.

"The treatments and recovery for all of this will be long and intense, and I'm here not only to inform you of what's going on, but also to humbly ask for help," Lueshen urges, describing the costs associated with treatment and his loss of work as "astronomical."

Lueshen also went on to disclose that he's already spent his savings and is asking for support via his GoFundMe page.

"I know my purpose on this planet is to give back, and to help others," the athlete shares. "I've done so in my advocacy and inclusion work for years. However, I cannot continue helping the world at the scale I want to if I'm not myself healthy enough to do so."

Describing past health issues he has overcome in order to return to sports, including "a severe spondylolisthesis and spinal fusion back surgery," Lueshen says he will beat this, too.

"I will be back out there playing volleyball, on the track competing in high jump, and in the weight room lifting again in time. I won't give up," the athlete vows.

Watch Lueshen's video below:

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.