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Returning from injury, Bryan Bresee receiving extra motivation from little sister

Max Knipstein, Contributor

Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee participates in fall camp ahead of the Tigers’ 2022 season. 

While most players coming off serious injuries don’t need an extra catalyst to drive them to return to the field, Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee has an added inspiration from his sister Ella this season. 
Playing against NC State last September, Bresee went down with a torn ACL. The injury forced him to miss the remainder of his sophomore season, which he started strong with 13 total tackles (3.0 for loss) and 1.5 sacks in four games.
Meanwhile, Ella had already been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer and had begun chemotherapy treatment.
For the 2020 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, the diagnosis hit him and his family hard, but Ella’s strength gave Bresee even more motivation to rehab.
“It just tells you to keep going,” Bresee said. “It’s my little sister, but also just a little girl who just has so much on her plate right now, so just whatever I’m going through isn’t half as bad as what she’s going through. So just talking with her, she encourages me all the time. She’s been a huge help.”
As the Tigers’ season opener approaches, Bresee, a former five-star recruit and the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2020, said earlier this month that he has recovered and is a full go for the Sept. 5 game against Georgia Tech.
“All that he’s dealing with between his family and his sister right now, I think that’s certainly fueled his fire even more and probably given him a perspective that a lot of young people don’t have,” head coach Dabo Swinney said.
While Ella’s journey has given strength to her brother, she has also given Clemson’s entire program encouragement, with Swinney saying she “is an inspiration for our whole locker room.”
Over the summer, Ella attended Swinney’s annual Ladies Clinic, which raises awareness and money for breast cancer research/technology, education and prevention.
“She’s in a tough battle, but she’s an inspiration,” Swinney said. “Being with her at the ladies clinic and seeing just her spirit and her joy in the moment, it was inspiring. She’s definitely someone that I pray for every day.”
According to Bresee, Ella will be in attendance for Clemson’s home opener against Furman on Sept. 10.
That matchup with Furman will be the first home game for Bresee since he suffered the injury and the first time his new tattoo “Ella Strong” will be on display in front of over 80,000 fans in Memorial Stadium. 

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