Harsh and decidedly unexpected news coming out of Evanston Monday afternoon will have a significant impact on Northwestern’s football team moving forward.
The football program confirmed earlier today that Jeremy Larkin will be forced to retire from the game of football as a result of a recent diagnosis of cervical stenosis. The good news is that the condition is not considered life-threatening even as it precludes any future participation in the sport.
Obviously, the sophomore running back’s decision to retire, which came as the football program was coming off its one bye weekend of the season, is effective immediately.
“Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won’t be on that field again, given I’ve played this game since I was five years old,” said Larkin in a statement. “I’m extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first. I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline.”
“This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete,” head football coach Pat Fitzgerald. “But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him. The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can’t wait to see the impact he makes in our world.”
Through three games, Larkin’s 346 yards rushing were easily tops on the Wildcats. In fact, Larkin currently accounts for an astounding 98.6 percent of the Wildcats’ 351 rushing yards as a team. Additionally, he has five of their seven rushing touchdowns on the season.
Northwestern will open up Big Ten play this weekend as they host No. 14 Michigan.