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The final chapter of David Wilson’s NFL career has been written far sooner than any expected.
Following the re-injuring of his surgically repaired neck on July 29, eight days after receiving medical clearance from spinal vertebrae fusion surgery, the team’s first-round pick in 2012 has been advised to retire by Giants’ team doctor Russell Warren and Hospital for Special Surgery spine specialist Dr. Frank Cammisa.
“Dr. Frank Cammisa Jr., our spine specialist at HSS examined David this morning and following that exam, we both sat down and shared our perspective with David,” Warren said in a statement released by the team. “David has diffuse cervical stenosis. He had a disc removed and a fusion in January. In light of last week’s episode of symptoms, sensory and motor, Frank and I both told David he should not play football any more. We let David know that by playing, he would be putting himself at risk for more episodes like last week or perhaps something more serious. ”
In a half-pads practice last Tuesday, Wilson caught a shovel pass from quarterback Curtis Painter. The back turned upfield but ran head-first into the back of Giants’ offensive lineman Eric Herman. Wilson fell to the ground, team doctors rushed over to his side and Wilson was escorted off the field. He was taken to the HSS for extensive testing and ruled out until Monday when Cammisa could review the results.
The Giants will place Wilson on Injured Reserve, allowing the running back to collect the $997,682 he’s owed in salary unless there is an injury settlement. But it sounds as if Wilson will adhere the doctors’ advice and walk away from the game.
“I’m thankful that I can literally walk away from the game and that I am healthy and capable of doing the same things I have done all my life, except play football,” said Wilson. “I always try to find the positive in everything. This morning when I saw Dr. Cammisa and Dr. Warren, I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear, but I expected that what they told me could be a possibility. I had played out both scenarios in my mind. I prayed this morning before I went to see them that they would tell me what God would tell me. He put His answer in them to relay to me.”
Wilson, 23, originally injured his neck on Oct. 6, 2013 versus the Philadelphia Eagles. After attempts to let the injury heal by itself were unsuccessful, Wilson had “vertebrae fusion” surgery in January. The Giants put Wilson through an extensive rehabilitation process before the back finally gained medical clearance on July 21, the day the Giants reported for training camp.
Wilson made it through seven practices, four with contact, before injuring his neck.
In his 21 games played, Wilson rushed the ball 115 times for 504 yards and five touchdowns. During his rookie year, Wilson established himself as one of the league’s best kick returners. On 57 attempts, Wilson gained 1,533 yards including a 97-yard touchdown.
“I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me, or pity me,” said Wilson. “I lived my dream. A lot of people only get to dream their dream. I lived that dream. Now I have a chance to dream another dream and live that, too.”
— David E. Wilson (@4stillRunning) August 4, 2014