Outside linebacker Cody Coen at football practice
Outside linebacker Cody Coen at football practice

SPORTS UPDATE: #codystrong



Byline headshot of Marty Bitter

Fearless Coyote going into battle, a battle he will win

By Marty Bitter, Madera Unified School District Athletic Director


 have had the opportunity to know and create relationships with many students in Madera Unified over my 27-year career. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet a Madera High senior and left our conversation amazed, touched, and so proud to work in the best district in California!! What makes a school district the best? One where students, like Cody Coen, inspire us all to maintain a positive outlook on life, work hard and push ourselves to be our best every day. Students like Cody deserve only our best!

Cody Coen will be a 2023 graduate of Madera High school. He was born and raised in Madera, just like his Dad Neil, a 1991 Coyote graduate. Cody attended Harvest Preschool, Lincoln Elementary, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and Madera High School. Cody played little league baseball until he went to TJ, where he did not play middle school sports. He mostly played video games and became interested in photography, welding, and computers. He also loved it when he was able to hunt and fish with his dad. That is where his real passion is. Upon attending Madera High during his freshman year, he decided to be more involved again. He started competing in football and track and field. He has participated in his selected sports all four years of high school, and little did he know that all of these skills would pay dividends for him.

At football practice earlier this season, before the big rivalry game with Madera South, Cody made a tackle in practice and fell on his left hip. It sent some pain into his body. He shook it off, but later that evening, he started to experience some real pain when he would turn or twist. After talking to his track and field coach, Mike Martinez, it was recommended that he go see the trainer. Cody stopped by the trainer, who thought it might be a deep muscle bruise or knot. After receiving ultrasound treatments, along with ice, Cody continued to practice. 

After not seeing any improvement, he decided to go and see his doctor. The doctor initially thought the same thing, that it was a deep muscle bruise or knot. He also visited his chiropractor, thinking maybe his hips were out of line and he had to have back adjustments. Then at another football practice, he made a tackle and hyperextended his back. Cody felt the pain in the same area.

This was when he and his dad decided to take the next step and take a deeper dive with the doctors. There were several MRIs, X-rays, and a soft tissue biopsy. The biopsy was sent to Stanford, and came back with a diagnosis of Synovial Sarcoma. Synovial Sarcoma is a form of cancer that comes from different types of soft tissue, such as muscle or ligaments. It is often found in the arm, leg, or foot and near joints such as the hip, wrist, or ankle.

Cody’s fight is on, and I have no doubt he will WIN. He is currently undergoing treatments at Valley Children’s Hospital. His regimen includes chemotherapy followed by a 3-4 day stay at Valley Children’s. Then, he recovers at home for about four weeks. This process is repeated for six months to shrink the tumor. Once treatments are completed, doctors will operate to remove the tumor. 

Cody plans to be back at school by his birthday on April 4th. He is going to finish school and graduate with his class of 2023. After high school, he has his sights set on attending the University of Wyoming (remember: outdoors, hunting and fishing), and possibly study Computer Science. His goal is to use his passion for photography and computers in a future profession.

Cody said some of his friends have asked if he is scared. He tells them there is no reason to be scared. This is just something he has to do to get better. His dad has always told him that his mindset is one of the reasons he is so tough! After our conversation, I have no doubt Cody will celebrate his birthday at school on April 4th with all of his Coyote friends and classmates!! #CodyStrong

Cody Coen in the Madera Athletics Office
Cody Coen in the Madera Athletics Office

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