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Michigan Quarterback Recruit Forced To Medically Retire

The defensive backs for Michigan huddle up prior to action between the Michigan Wolverines and Indiana Hoosiers.

The defensive backs for Michigan huddle up prior to action between the Michigan Wolverines and Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana on November 11, 2006. Michigan won 34-3. (Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images)

Quarterback JD Johnson was set to join Michigan's quarterback room next fall, as a four-star member of the football program's 2020 class. He committed to the Wolverines last December.

This evening, news came down that Johnson can no longer play football. He took to twitter to announce that he's been medically disqualified from the sport.

When he was 12, Johnson received a stent to deal with a coarctation—a narrowing in a section of his aorta. Doctors fear that playing a contact sport could cause a rupture, which would have dire health consequences.

In his note, Johnson also announces that Jim Harbaugh immediately confirmed that he would honor the scholarship offered to him, and presented the opportunity to join the Michigan football staff as a student assistant. From Johnson:

"I want to announce that as of today my football playing career has come to an end... "I was born with an undecided birth defect called a 'coarctation of my aorta,' which was diagnosed when I was 12. I knew following my senior season that I required an expansion adjustment to the stent I had inserted back then, which is scheduled for Dec. 12th, but my focus remained on winning the 1st Arizona State 6A Championship at Pinnacle High School. "After going through a battery of tests and a complete evaluation of my cardiovascular system the doctors discovered that I have some issues that cannot be corrected through additional surgery. I was told that I did not meet the clearance standard to continue playing a contact sport for fear that my aorta could rupture, or that not enough blood would get to my brain causing an on-field stroke. [...] "Coach Harbaugh called after receiving the news of my test results. Unsure and scared to what the conversation was going to be, Coach, without hesitation, said that my scholarship would be honored and offered me a position to join the Wolverine Staff and helping anyway I can. I am witness to Coach Harbaugh's character and integrity in a situation where he has every reason to tell me 'Good luck with your future.' He means what he says and stands behind his commitments, when he could have taken the easy way out."

That is an extremely classy gesture from Harbaugh. The last few days have likely been brutal for JD Johnson, as he has had to accept that his football career is over way before he ever envisioned, but he seems to be coping about as well as you could hope for a high schooler. We wish him the best of luck as he finishes his senior year, and starts down this new path at Michigan. [


— JD Johnson (@jd10johnson) October 30, 2019

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