By Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Defensive back Derrick Nash will serve as an honorary captain for the Central Michigan football team when it plays in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl on Christmas Eve.
"We had to file a waiver with the NCAA to clear him just to invite him on the trip," CMU head coach Dan Enos said. "When we got the waiver that we could bring him that was a real blessing. Then we didn't know if he was going to be able to go and to have his doctors clear him to go was another blessing.
"Our team loves him, he's part of our family. He's been through a lot obviously and I think our team loves to have one of our own as a captain, but a guy like Derrick who we draw so much strength from just watching how courageous he is every day and what an inspiration he is to our entire program."
Nash, a freshman from Saginaw, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in May, 2013 as he neared the end of his senior year at Carrollton High School.
After undergoing chemotherapy treatment, Nash played in the Chippewas' annual Maroon and Gold Spring Game at Kelly/Shorts. He was on schedule to claim a spot on the active roster for the 2014 season when doctors discovered the leukemia had returned. He has been in treatment the past two months and did not appear in a game during the 2014 season.
CMU has honored Nash this season with a helmet sticker and #NashStrong wristbands. Central Michigan also teamed with the the Michigan Blood Registry to hold Be The Match events across campus to help find bone marrow donors for Derek and other leukemia patients.
The Chippewas will play Western Kentucky in the inaugural Bahamas Bowl on Christmas Eve at Robinson National Stadium in Nassau. The game is scheduled to begin at noon and will be carried live on ESPN.