Michigan's Grant Newsome announces medical retirement from football with emotional letter

Michigan’s Grant Newsome announced his medical retirement two years after sustaining a serious leg injury and attempting a comeback. (AP)

Two years after a serious injury he sustained on the playing field, University of Michigan football player Grant Newsome has announced his medical retirement from the game. Newsome posted an emotional two-page letter to Twitter on Monday afternoon, which detailed his journey from injury to recovery to possible comeback and finally to retirement.

“The doctors were concerned I’d never walk again”

Newsome was a sophomore at Michigan in 2016, imagining himself winning a national championship with his team and getting drafted into the NFL. But on Oct. 1, he took a hard hit to his knee during a game. While at the time he was able to walk off the field, the injury was severe.

Before I knew it I was in the hospital, in the midst of 4 hours of testing, my heart steadily sinking as I realized what we would later know, my season was over. I ended up dislocating my knee, fracturing my tibia, tearing 3 of the ligaments in my knee, suffering severe damage to three different nerves, and destroying my popliteal artery. Emergency surgery saved my leg and maybe my life.

Newsome spent a week in the ICU, heavily drugged as he recovered from surgery. He would spend a total of 38 days in the hospital and have six more surgeries to fix his leg. When he finally left the hospital, he was alive and whole, but far from healed.

When I left the hospital I couldn’t even contract the hamstring or quad muscles in my right leg. My leg had atrophied so badly that my right thigh was the same diameter as my left calf. The doctors were concerned I would never walk again.

“But not all stories have a happy ending”

Despite his condition when he left the hospital, Newsome committed himself to getting better and getting back on the field.

But I defied the odds, I struggled through nearly 2 years of rehab, teaching myself first to stand, then walk, then run. I overcame setbacks and obstacles that initially seemed insurmountable. I began to work through OL drills, and complete list and conditioning with my teammates. I began to see myself back on the field at the big house, my emotions nearly uncontrollable as the national anthem played before my return.

But not all stories have a happy ending…

Unfortunately, his return to the football field was not meant to be. While he’d healed to a “miraculous” degree, his knee and leg weren’t ever going to be the same. Subsequent injuries combined with the fragility of his surgically repaired leg meant he had to end his comeback for good.

So I have made undoubtedly the most difficult decision of my life, and will medically retire from football.

Ready for the next step

Though not all stories have a happy ending, he said his does. He still has a lot of life left in front of him, and he’s grateful for the chance to live it.

One day I will be able to play catch with my kids, to chase after them as they learn to ride a bicycle, to stand on my own two feet and applaud them at their graduations. I’ll be able to sit comfortably and tell them about the experiences I had.

The second half of Newsome’s retirement letter was overflowing with gratitude as he looked at the positives in his situation. He thanked his parents, his brothers, and his girlfriend. He thanked every doctor, coach, and fellow player he met along the way. He expressed gratitude for every victory and defeat he experienced, and ended his letter with a tremendously positive message.

So to any kids reading this, or anyone who has hopes and dreams but fear they may be dashed. Yes, not all stories have the happy ending you envision. But all stories have meaning, and all stories are worth living.

Though he won’t be able to play football again, the Detroit Free Press reported that Newsome will become a student assistant with the team, working with the tight ends. His medical retirement means he’ll get to keep his scholarship as he completes his master’s degree.

Newsome still has a sense of humor about his situation as well. This is what he tweeted a short time after posting his retirement letter.

Any takers?

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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