Penn State RB Retires After Heart Condition Diagnosis

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Penn State University running back Journey Brown announced Wednesday that he is retiring from football due to a heart condition.

Brown, a 5-foot-11, 217-pound junior from Meadville, Pa., tweeted that his dream of playing in the NFL is ending and he is medically retiring after being diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

”The pain of not being able to play the game I love anymore hurts and I can’t explain how I am feeling right now,” Brown said. “However, I can walk away from the game knowing I truly gave my all at every practice, on every down and in the locker room every day.”

After getting just eight carries as a freshman in 2018, Brown had 129 carries for 890 yards and 12 touchdowns in 13 games last season. He added 15 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown in a 2019 season that had him on the preseason watch list for the 2020 Doak Walker Award, which goes out to the top running back in college football.

However, an offseason COVID-19 test revealed Brown’s diagnosis and he didn’t suit up this fall. "Journey is one of the most popular and respected players on our team," Penn State head coach James Franklin said in a release posted on gopsusports.com. "When we found out about this in early September, the entire organization rallied behind Journey and his family. We need Nittany Nation to do the same, as I know we will. Journey's handled this unbelievably well and I know he'll be extremely successful, whatever he decides to do.”

According to Mayo Clinic, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is “a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood.”

"It was discovered through a routine COVID-19 test, although it is not COVID-related," Franklin said, according to ESPN. "We learned about this in early September, and we've been working through this and dealing with this as a team. Journey is one of the most popular and respected players on our team.”

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