Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin announces retirement after cervical stenosis diagnosis

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin runs against Akron during the first half in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

Northwestern Wildcats running back Jeremy Larkin has announced his retirement effective immediately for medical reasons, Northwestern announced Monday.

The sophomore was diagnosed with cervical stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck area or upper spine. Northwestern says the condition is not life-threatening, but will prevent him from playing football again.

"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" Larkin said 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."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," said Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said in a statement.

Larkin had 346 rushing yards and 19 catches for 127 yards and five touchdowns in the first three games of the season. He was expected to lead the Wildcats backfield after the graduation of the school's all-time leading rusher Justin Jackson.
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