May 4, 2020
By Eliott C. McLaughlin
It was the snap of the doctor’s glove that spooked him right out of the exam room.
Chuck Christian is a large fellow, a 6-foot-4 former tight end for one of the most decorated college football programs in the country. He doesn’t come off as squeamish.
Yet about 15 years ago, when a physician prepared to perform a prostate exam after Christian discovered blood in his semen, the big man simply walked out of the office. He harkened back decades to his days as a Michigan Wolverine, when team Dr. Robert Anderson allegedly performed unwarranted prostate checks on athletes.
“Nobody’s going to do that again,” he thought as he escaped the urology clinic. “That’s why I didn’t go get the exam because of my fear of these digital exams that Dr. Anderson used to give me.”
Today, Christian, 60, has stage 4 prostate cancer that has spread to his spine, tailbone, hips, ribs and shoulders.
Doctors told him in 2016 he had three years to live, but he just passed the four-year mark, he said, explaining that he opted for alternative treatments over chemotherapy and radiation.
The married father of three wishes he would’ve realized sooner that his fear of doctors stemmed from the trauma he says he suffered as a University of Michigan student-athlete in Anderson’s exam room. He’s speaking up so other former athletes don’t make the mistake he made, of waiting too long to get checked.
No one should be ashamed of being a victim, he said.
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