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Former Baseball: Community to Coach – “Fight like you always have fought”

Eric Narcisse, The Advertiser, Nov. 30, 2014

As he sat in a hospital room, awaiting his test results, Paul Trosclair tried his best to remain calm, relaxed and filled with positive thoughts.

But shortly after his doctor walked through the door, piercing his heart with her diagnosis of multiple myeloma, Trosclair, the head football coach at Eunice High, could no longer hold back his emotions.

“It was just shock at first,” Trosclair said. “Sure, you are thinking about yourself and mortality, but you also begin to think about your family. I look at my sons, and you want to be around for them and the things they are going to do in their lives. So, when you get a diagnosis like that it just hits you square in the face.”

Trosclair’s diagnosis not only scared him, but also had a big impact on his family, friends and the Eunice community as well.

“I couldn’t believe it when I found out,” Eunice High principal Mitch Fontenot said. “I really had a hard time accepting it because when you look at him he is in excellent shape. I began to do a little research and I realized just how serious it was. It never sunk in and it still hasn’t sunk in.”

Multiple myeloma is a relatively uncommon cancer that starts in the plasma cells in the bone marrow. In the United States, the lifetime risk of getting multiple myeloma is 1 in 143.

“I had no idea about multiple myeloma, so I got online and began reading,” Trosclair said. “That was a big mistake, because you start seeing things like ‘life expectancy 2 to 4 years.’ Going online made things worse, and in fact, that was the first thing my doctor told me not to do anymore.”

In fact, the 58-year-old Trosclair credits his doctor with helping him come to terms with his diagnosis. Her confidence and straight-to-the point plan of attack helped restore his positive thoughts, he said.

“I feel I had the best doctor in America,” Trosclair said. “It was scary, but she was very blunt. She told me, ‘Don’t worry. It’s not curable, but it is treatable and we’re going to get it into remission.’ Her confidence really helped me a lot. It calmed me down and led to me saying, ‘OK, I’m going to do what I have to do to beat this.’”

Trosclair, who has been at Eunice High for 22 years, 17 as head coach, was not only determined to beat it. He wanted to do so while still coaching, especially considering the timing of the diagnosis. It was late summer, and his team had been working hard to prepare for the upcoming year. He also knew he was one win away from reaching 200 career victories, and that’s something he also wanted to accomplish.

“No one could figure out what was going on,” Trosclair said. “In the spring, my blood pressure shot up and I was really fatigued. They thought I had a blocked artery. Then my kidneys weren’t function right, so they did a biopsy. Things just kept getting worse and that’s when the red flags began to go up. In the summer is when they diagnosed me and even though they thought I was crazy, I told them that I wanted to coach this season.”

Trosclair successfully completed the football season, leading the Bobcats to a 4-6 record and along the way missed only one practice because of a doctor’s appointment in Houston. It required a lot of will and determination, as he was taking as many as 12 pills in a day as part of his treatment plan.

“If I had to do it again, I probably wouldn’t,” Trosclair said. “It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I battled through it and I had some really good days and some really bad days. There were some days when I felt 20 years old and other days when I felt 100. But I got through it.”

While many may have been surprised to see Trosclair on the practice field and on sidelines on game day, Fontenot isn’t among them. He expected nothing less from the man he looks up to.

“Tros (Trosclair) is one of those individuals that around once every so many years,” Fontenot said. “He’s a stable force not only for our athletic program and our school, but for the entire Eunice community. He is a leader in the community who is always going to give you 100 percent. He has this presence about him and everyone looks up to him.”

With the football season now over, Trosclair is set to embark on the next step in the journey to winning his fight against Multiple Myeloma. He will leave for M.D. Anderson in Houston the first week of December, and will remain there for two months as he undergoes a stem cell transplant.

“The stem cell transplant is where they are going to take out all of my good cells and freeze them,” Trosclair said. “Then they are going to kill off everything else, then put my good cells back in. They believe that my cells will then begin to multiply and take over again and I’ll be starting fresh.”

Although he won’t be there physically, Fontenot says, Trosclair will never be far from his friends.

“We told him he can expect to have a lot of visitors in Houston,” Fontenot said. “But we’re also going to Face Time and text a lot. His actual body won’t be here, but his presence will. We know that he is going to beat this. If there’s anyone who can beat this, it is Tros.”

With all that he has been through, Trosclair admits that this year’s holiday season — especially Thanksgiving Day — takes on a greater meaning for him and his family.

“Every day is important,” Trosclair said. “I’ve always enjoyed life, but I’m more focused on doing so. I appreciate my family and friends. I’m really thankful for them and I’m thankful for being here. My diagnosis has made us a lot closer as a family and I think it makes them appreciate the little things a lot more.”

For Fontenot and the Eunice community, Trosclair’s diagnosis has made them much more appreciative, as well.

“In general, when something like that happens in life and it hits so close to home, yeah, it makes you more think,” Fontenot said. “It makes you not take family or friends for granted.”

As he prepares to embark on his journey to recovery, Fontenot wanted to deliver one message before he leaves.

“I just want to tell him to keep fighting,” Fontenot said. “Fight like you always have fought. You have the support of myself, Eunice High School and the entire community. We love you.”

Athletic Network Footnote:
Paul was a member of the 1974-76 Baseball Teams. Click here for photo of the 1976 Baseball Team.
Our prayers go out to Paul and his family.