Northwestern's top running back has been forced into an early retirement from football as sophomore Jeremy Larkin is stepping away from the game after he was diagnosed with cervical stenosis.
Cervical stenosis occurs when the neck's protective spinal canal narrows due to degenerative changes or trauma. Though the condition is not life threatening, it will prevent Larkin from continuing to play football.
"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 release. "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 was the team's top running back and overall offensive weapon this season. He's accounted for 346 of the team's total 392 positive rushing yards, has the most yards from scrimmage on the team, and has accounted for over half of the team's total touchdowns.
"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," said Coach Pat Fitzgerald said in a release. "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."