D.C. United's Chris Odoi-Atsem has Hodgkin's lymphoma, to have chemotherapy

D.C. United defender Chris Odoi-Atsem was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma, the team announced Tuesday.

Odoi-Atsem, 23, is scheduled to undergo four months of chemotherapy at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

"I feel truly blessed to have caught this disease at any early stage and have a medical team that is confident that I will make a full recovery," Odoi-Atsem said in a statement. "I want to use my situation to raise awareness and help others in similar situations who are going through their own individual battles. This is only temporary, God will see me through and I will be back to where I'm supposed to be -- on the soccer field."

Odoi-Atsem has played in just one game -- against the Columbus Crew on March 24 -- this season and 10 overall since being selected No. 12 overall 2017 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Maryland. He has battled injuries to his left ankle, both calves and has been slowed recently by what the club called fatigue.

The fatigue has been an issue for Odoi-Atsem since the preseason. According to the Washington Post, he was urged by his mother to get checked when he woke up with chest pain and shortness of breath six weeks ago. It was then that a 7.5-centimeter mass growing in his chest was discovered, leading to two biopsies to determine the diagnosis.

The cancer has not spread, and Odoi-Atsem plans to return to playing soccer next year, according to the Post.

"As a club, we want to express our unwavering support for Chris as he goes through treatment to address the Hodgkin's lymphoma," D.C. general manager and VP of soccer operations Dave Kasper said in a statement. "He is physically and mentally strong so we know that he is well-equipped to overcome this. The experienced medical staff at MedStar were able to discover it at an early stage and are optimistic that this is highly treatable. We are going to be behind Chris every step of the way in this process."