Sometimes a career is over before it had a chance to really begin. David Wilson hasn’t announced his retirement, but it’s quite clear he isn’t going to play for the New York Giants again, or for any other NFL team for that matter as his multiple neck injuries put his life at risk if he continues participating in the sport.
Wilson was going to be starting his third season in the NFL since joining the Giants in 2012, coming out of Virginia Tech as the first round pick for the Super Bowl champions. The promising running back averaged 5 yards per carry during his rookie year which saw him play in all 16 games and score four touchdowns. His inability to avoid fumbles cost him playing time, but more serious was his week five injury through the 2013 season against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Wilson injured his neck which meant missing the entire season and underwent spinal fusion surgery, which meant he wasn’t cleared for contact until two weeks ago. He was injured again during practice last week and after being examined he met with Frank Cammisa, who is the chief of spine services at the Hospital for Special Surgery and Giants team doctor Russell Warren, both advising Wilson to step away from the game.
David has diffuse cervical stenosis. He had a disk 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 anymore. 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.
From what Wilson has been letting out through the media, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to fight the decision or seek a second opinion. He hasn’t been able to do much in the NFL – a kick returner and backup running back one year and spending a few more game in the next season before getting shut down, but it’s still a lot more than what most people who dream about playing in the NFL get to do.
I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me or pity me. 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. 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. I always try to find the positive in everything. This morning, I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear, but I expected what they told me could be a possibility. I had played out both scenarios in my mind.
Maybe the Giants envisioned that one day Wilson can become a feature back for them, but it’s not going to happen. They’ll be heading into the 2014 season with Rashard Jennings as their number one running back, backed up by Andre Williams, Peyton Hillis and one of the two: Michael Cox or Kendall Gaskins.