EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — New York Giants running back David Wilson’s NFL career is over after two seasons because of a neck injury.
The 23-year-old Wilson was told by doctors Monday that he risked more serious problems if he kept playing.
He underwent fusion surgery to repair vertebrae and a herniated disk in his neck in January. Then at practice last Tuesday, Wilson caught a pass and ran with his head down into the back of an offensive lineman, a hit that caused numbness in his hands and lower extremities.
He missed the final 11 games last season after being diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal cord.
“I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me, or pity me,” he said in a statement released by the team. “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.”
Wilson was drafted in the first round, 32nd overall, out of Virginia Tech in 2012. As a rookie, he rushed for 358 yards and scored four touchdowns while making his mark as a kick returner. Wilson led the NFL with 1,533 kickoff return yards, a team record.
But he got off to a slow start last season before the injury.
Wilson’s condition is not expected to require additional surgery or therapy.
Wilson met Monday morning with Dr. Russell Warren, the team’s physician, and Dr. Frank Cammisa, the chief of spine service at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery. Cammisa performed the spinal fusion surgery on Wilson.
They told him he needed to stop playing football.