Former Boise State University football coach Pokey Allen was in a Missoula hospital on Saturday as cancer continued spreading quickly through his body.
Dr. Carolyn Collins said Allen was in Montana to spend the holidays with his mother, sister and daughter. The badly weakened Allen was admitted to St. Patrick Hospital the day after Christmas when he “more or less collapsed,” falling and breaking his nose, Collins said.
“He’s seriously ill. It’s unclear at this point what the next few days will bring,” she said at a news conference called at the request of Allen’s family, who had been inundated with calls.
Collins said the tumor in his chest is growing “very rapidly,” and now involves more than 90 percent of his lungs. But the 53-year-old Allen was heavily medicated with a long-acting form of morphine and resting comfortably.
“I think he’s going to feel sleepier, and I think ultimately he’s just going to go to sleep. He’ll become comatose at some point,” Collins said.
After an apparently successful fight against the rare and aggressive muscle cancer that was first diagnosed in December 1994, Allen took medical leave from Boise State in early August when he learned new tumors were forming on his chest and lungs.
He had surgery on Aug. 15, but doctors were unable to remove all the tumors. After receiving alternative treatments in Canada, Allen returned to Boise on Nov. 11 and coached the Broncos’ last two games of the season.
He resigned his coaching job on Dec. 11 following a CAT scan that revealed cancer cells in his body were once again active.