Northwestern RB Jeremy Larkin retires from football due to neck injury

SHARE Northwestern RB Jeremy Larkin retires from football due to neck injury
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Jeremy Larkin runs the ball against Purdue. | Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin will retire from football effective immediately after doctors diagnosed him with cervical stenosis. The school announced Larkin’s decision to quit the sport Monday, saying that the “condition is not life threatening but prevents continued participation in football.”

Cervical stenosis is “a condition in which the spinal canal is too small for the spinal cord and nerve roots,” according to the Virginia School of Medicine. This can cause damage to the spinal cord and nerve roots.

Larkin, a sophomore, had opened the season as the Wildcats’ starting running back after spending last season as the backup to Justin Jackson, who moved onto the NFL this year.

“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.”

Larkin carried the ball 72 times for 346 yards and five touchdownin three games this season, including an impressive 143 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 1 win over Purdue. In his final game, he recorded 82 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Akron.

Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the loss of Larkin “heartbreaking,” but also the “best possible outcome.”

“This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete,” said 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.”

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