By Dave Wagner
Eastern New Mexico University women’s basketball coach Dan Buzard, hospitalized recently in Albuquerque due to a brain tumor that turned out to be cancerous, is scheduled to undergo gamma knife radiation treatments perhaps as early as next week.
Buzard, who has been staying with his in-laws in Albuquerque since being released from the hospital on July 30, said he will meet with a radiation doctor today to determine when the procedure will begin and how long the treatments will last.
The type of radiation treatment Buzard will undergo is a relatively new procedure called Gamma knife which allows doctors to zero in more precisely on the diseased area while sparing healthy areas surrounding it, according to www.webmd.com.
Surgery removed about 70 percent of the tumor after Buzard was hospitalized. He said the decision was made to go with radiation over another surgery to try to get all or most of the remaining tumor.
“We hope to get 95-99 percent of the tumor,” he said.
Buzard, beginning his third year as ENMU’s head coach after 13 years as a grad assistant and then full-time assistant to Wayne Moore, hopes to be back sometime in the fall, perhaps for the start of the season in November.
ENMU athletic director Mike Maguire said Monday night that in the event Buzard isn’t ready by the start of the season, assistant coach Dustin Klafka would become the acting head coach and Moore would come out of retirement to serve as the assistant.
“Dustin does a great job; he’ll be able to handle things,” Maguire said. “I contacted Wayne and asked if he’d be willing to help if Dan’s not able to start things out, and he said he would.”
Maguire added, however, that he hopes Buzard can return to work sooner than later.
“We’re hoping he’ll be back for the season,” Maguire said. “At this point, we’ll just wait and see what happens.”
Buzard said Monday that he’s felt much better since the surgery to remove part of the tumor.
“I feel better than I’ve felt in six months,” he said. “If I felt this way all the time, I wouldn’t do any radiation. But we have to do something to get (the tumor) out of there.”
He said between his doctors, the people at ENMU and well-wishers, he’s had a strong support system.
“It’s just a matter of the people (who are) working with me and around me are awesome,” Buzard said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
A benefit account for Buzard has been set up at Wells Fargo in Clovis and Portales. Donations can be made at either location and will go directly to the family, according to Lisa Dunagan of the Clovis office.