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Details about Saunders' retirement from football

Joined:
4/9/2008 12:11 pm
From Wilderness, VA via Hacker Valley, WV
Posts: 14415
http://wvmetronews.com/2017/06/06/hea ... ith-career-ending-injury/

This could have been the season when redshirt freshman Cody Saunders enjoyed his first taste of game action at West Virginia.

Instead, he’s giving up the sport, sabotaged by an undetected injury from years ago that, in hindsight, made it miraculous he ever became a Division I quarterback at all.

Saunders didn’t know anything about trapezius palsy when he made a spring break trip home to Panama City Beach, Fla., in mid-March. Saunders was intent on staying sharp for his battle to become WVU’s backup quarterback, so he threw passes to players at his alma mater, Arnold High School.

When his rotator cuff became inflamed, Saunders presumed it was a symptom of overwork — a continuation of the arm fatigue he felt during winter passing drills.

Upon returning to Morgantown for the remainder of spring practice, Saunders had the shoulder checked out, anticipating nothing worse than minor surgery to alleviate the pain.

But a team orthopedist discovered something more rare and debilitating. Using an electromyograph that sent currents through Saunders’ neck, they learned he had suffered spinal accessory nerve damage. Essentially, the nerve to his right trapezius wasn’t firing — apparently hadn’t been for years — and a muscle crucial to any quarterback had atrophied.

....

The discovery of a withered trapezius effectively ended his days as a Power 5 passer, though Saunders considered a position change. Ultimately, the vulnerability of the weakened shoulder carried too many risks.


“Without a trap in my right shoulder, I could get hit the wrong way in a live contact session and next thing you know I’m hurt even worse. I had a doctor ask me if I wanted to play football for the next three or four years or be able to throw the football with my kid growing up? So that was kind of a no-brainer,” Saunders said.

“That’s the kind of questions you have to ask yourself: How do you want to move forward with your life? Do you want to live comfortably? Do you want to be healthy?”

Saunders was “heartbroken” to give up football before playing a down at West Virginia, yet he takes pride in having earned a Division I scholarship despite such an injury. Doctors suggested the nerve damage dates back to a hit during Saunders’ freshman or sophomore years at Arnold — the outset of a high school career in which he somehow threw for more than 4,700 yards and ran for 2,000-plus.





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Posted on: 6/7 7:29 am
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Re: Details about Saunders' retirement from football
Gettin' Schmitty
Joined:
1/25/2006 8:25 pm
From ohio via Panther WV
Posts: 9482
Sucks. My kid loved this guy. He watched his Hudl highlights and saw him in the spring game last year and has been waiting for Cody's turn. Just glad he gets to stay on and get his education paid for.

Posted on: 6/7 9:06 am
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Re: Details about Saunders' retirement from football
Gettin' Schmitty
Joined:
6/7/2011 4:56 pm
From Originally, Lester WV, now, Richmond, "East" Virginia
Posts: 6425
Quote:

WVisHome wrote:
http://wvmetronews.com/2017/06/06/hea ... ith-career-ending-injury/

This could have been the season when redshirt freshman Cody Saunders enjoyed his first taste of game action at West Virginia.

Instead, he’s giving up the sport, sabotaged by an undetected injury from years ago that, in hindsight, made it miraculous he ever became a Division I quarterback at all.

Saunders didn’t know anything about trapezius palsy when he made a spring break trip home to Panama City Beach, Fla., in mid-March. Saunders was intent on staying sharp for his battle to become WVU’s backup quarterback, so he threw passes to players at his alma mater, Arnold High School.

When his rotator cuff became inflamed, Saunders presumed it was a symptom of overwork — a continuation of the arm fatigue he felt during winter passing drills.

Upon returning to Morgantown for the remainder of spring practice, Saunders had the shoulder checked out, anticipating nothing worse than minor surgery to alleviate the pain.

But a team orthopedist discovered something more rare and debilitating. Using an electromyograph that sent currents through Saunders’ neck, they learned he had suffered spinal accessory nerve damage. Essentially, the nerve to his right trapezius wasn’t firing — apparently hadn’t been for years — and a muscle crucial to any quarterback had atrophied.

....

The discovery of a withered trapezius effectively ended his days as a Power 5 passer, though Saunders considered a position change. Ultimately, the vulnerability of the weakened shoulder carried too many risks.


“Without a trap in my right shoulder, I could get hit the wrong way in a live contact session and next thing you know I’m hurt even worse. I had a doctor ask me if I wanted to play football for the next three or four years or be able to throw the football with my kid growing up? So that was kind of a no-brainer,” Saunders said.

“That’s the kind of questions you have to ask yourself: How do you want to move forward with your life? Do you want to live comfortably? Do you want to be healthy?”

Saunders was “heartbroken” to give up football before playing a down at West Virginia, yet he takes pride in having earned a Division I scholarship despite such an injury. Doctors suggested the nerve damage dates back to a hit during Saunders’ freshman or sophomore years at Arnold — the outset of a high school career in which he somehow threw for more than 4,700 yards and ran for 2,000-plus.





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Number one, this is just awful for Saunders. I really feel for the kid. Number two, there will come a time when WVU has a game where the QBs don't perform as we would like, and the anti-Holgorsen crowd will start talking about how Dana has not been able to develop QBs recruited out of high school. In anticipation of that happening, I will simply say that this is not Dana's fault!

Posted on: 6/7 9:08 am
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Re: Details about Saunders' retirement from football
Party Machine
Joined:
11/30/2013 3:05 pm
Posts: 671
Cranial Nerve 11 lesions are pretty easy to find (I'm a medical student), I'm surprised nobody asked him in the last couple years to just shrug his shoulders against resistance, they would have noticed the trapezius palsy immediately. Sucks for the kid though, I really feel for him having to cut his career short due to something out of his control. Another case of what if for a kid that seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Unfortunate, and agreed, no way in hell is that Dana's fault.

Posted on: 6/7 11:43 am
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Re: Details about Saunders' retirement from football
Pitt Hater
Joined:
9/22/2010 11:16 pm
From Chokie Burg
Posts: 1557
I like this kid, too. I was looking forward to him getting his shot. Obviously his health is most important. Maybe coaching will be in his future.

Posted on: 6/7 7:35 pm
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Re: Details about Saunders' retirement from football
Pitt Hater
Joined:
9/18/2011 10:04 pm
From Atlanta, GA
Posts: 1391
I'd take Saunders without shoulders over another year of Howard. Just saying.

Posted on: 6/7 10:15 pm
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