Penn State running back Journey Brown looked like a rising college football star in 2019. This week, he announced that his football career is over.
Earlier this fall, James Franklin said that Brown may miss the full season due to a then-undisclosed health issue. This week, Brown and the program announced that the running back is dealing with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease that leads to the thickening of the heart muscle, which can cause issues when it comes to the organ pumping blood.
“You never know when you will play your last snap, but I know I left it all out there and have no regrets, other than wishing I could step on the field one final time,” Brown wrote in a letter posted to Twitter after the news came down. “I won’t miss the game of football because it will always be part of me.”
Franklin has had a rough go of it this fall. He can’t be with his family, which is staying in Florida this fall out of caution for his daughter, who has sickle cell disease. The team has had a rash of injuries and opt-outs and is 0-3 to start the year. Now, a player who he considers “like a son” can no longer play the sport he loves.
"When we found out about it, you’re in shock. You feel physically sick about it. You hurt for the kid."https://t.co/arj3ivUpBE
— The Daily Collegian (@DailyCollegian) November 13, 2020
James Franklin recapped the process that got us to this moment for Brown over the last few months, and what devastating news it is for he and the program. From The Daily Collegian:
Penn State then sought out second opinions that confirmed Brown would be forced to medically retire from the game of football — a moment Franklin could only describe as “heartbreaking.”
“When we found out about it, you’re in shock. You feel physically sick about it. You hurt for the kid,” Franklin said. “The kid has been phenomenal. He’s handled it better than I think anybody I’ve been around. He’s going to be very successful. I know our team is going to continue to support him and rally around him. We’ve been doing it since September.”
“I think that’s what made this news so hard on everybody, because we knew what type of player he could be for Penn State, but also for his future,” Franklin said. “As much success as he’s had, that makes it even more challenging. You feel for the kid. He’s a special kid. Journey Brown is like a son to me.”
Journey Brown broke onto the scene last season, with 1,024 total yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns. We all wish him well going forward, with whatever he does after football.