It’s 2018 and Nate Solder is at a tattoo parlor in Newport, RI, making sure the artist knows exactly what he wants. It’s the last place you would expect it.
“I don’t like tattoos,” Solder says. “I think it’s a mistake, because I think your body is perfectly made the way it should be. I think it’s a form of mutilation.”
But after waiting 40 minutes while the artist prepared his tools, a single buzz from the needle leaves a 2.5-inch black line at a 45-degree angle on the left side of Solder’s chest. It’s an exact replica of the scar his son Hudson has from the port that was implanted in his chest at three months old to administer chemotherapy.
It was a message to Hudson, who is now six.
“I wanted to show, ‘I feel your scars,'” Solder said.
Solder, 34, was in his fifth season as Tom Brady’s left tackle when, in October 2015, he felt a lump on the left side of Hudson’s stomach while bathing his infant son. A few days later, Nate and his wife, Lexi, took Hudson to his pediatrician, who suggested an ultrasound, so the Solders took Hudson to a suburb of Boston Children’s Hospital.
“He had his ultrasound done and before you knew it, there were about 10 people in the room,” Lexi said. “It was the head of the hospital and a social worker and they ask us if we want to take an ambulance to (Boston Children’s Hospital). It was crazy.
“It felt weird because he was fine. He wasn’t sick, he had no symptoms that anything was wrong – we just felt a lump and went and got it checked out.