The New York Giants announced Monday that they were releasing running back David Wilson due to doctors' recommendations that he not return to the sport.
Wilson has cervical stenosis, or a narrowing of the spinal canal, and was told he should no longer play football. Despite the disappointing news, Wilson is remaining hopeful for what the next chapter of his life holds.
The 23-year-old was a first round draft pick in 2012, and set a team record for the most all-purpose yards in a single game. Wilson was also the first player in NFL history to have 200 kickoff return yards and 100 rushing yards in one game.
His promising football career was curtailed in October 2013 however, when he suffered a season-ending neck injury. After having spinal fusion surgery in January, he returned to the Giants practice field, but was injured again last Tuesday.
Wilson suffered a "burner" during practice – a hit to the neck and shoulders that causes nerve damage. He lost feeling in his hands and lower extremities, and was evaluated by doctors.
Their conclusions were announced Monday.
"Dr. Frank Cammisa Jr., our spine specialist at [New York's Hospital for Special Surgery], examined David this morning and following that exam, we both sat down and shared our perspective with David," Giant's team physician Dr. Russell Warren said in a statement, Yahoo reports.
"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."
Wilson said that he remained prayerful going into the meeting with the doctors.
"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," a statement read.
"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.
"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."
Wilson also asked that no one feel sorry for him, as he has accomplished much and has a bright future ahead.
"At age 8 I told my #Dad I wanted to play football in THE NFL at this point in my life I have done that," he wrote on Instagram. "Even Blessed to be drafted in the 1st round. Broke and set RECORDS, scored Touchdowns, and all that follows. It's a great feeling to live a out dream [sic].
"Unfortunately that has been paused but I am blessed that I am able to walk away from this game healthy and still able to be me with no restrictions pain or struggle and So all I ask is please don't be sorry or pity ME that's just one chapter life goes on and I'm glad I can live it. Once a Giant always a #Giant #pocketrocket."