One of the saddest stories of the 2014 NFL preseason was the forced retirement of New York Giants running back David Wilson. The 23-year-old had to hang up his cleats after re-injuring his neck during training camp. Well, now Wilson has his eyes on a new career and he’s still going to be an athlete.
Wilson will turn to track and field, as he intends to train in the triple jump in an attempt to make the United States team for the 2016 Rio Olympics. He competed in the event in high school and during his collegiate days at Virginia Tech.
Wilson made the announcement while speaking to reporters on Monday at Citi Field where he was addressing school children as a part of the “Citi Kids” program. He claims he has already been working out and will begin training with his old track coach at Virginia Tech.
The promising young running back had a tough start to the 2013 NFL season and only played in five games after being diagnosed with spinal stenosis. He had fusion surgery to repair a vertebrae and a herniated disk in his neck in January. During training camp last month during he ran into the back of an offensive lineman with his head down and said he felt numbness in his hands and lower extremities afterwards. After some tests doctors advised him to retire.
Wilson obviously has a lot of work to do if he wants to make the U.S. track team for the 2016 Olympics, though he did help Virginia Tech win the 2011 ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships. His personal best in the triple jump was 16.20 meters. France’s Teddy Tamgho won the 2013 World Track Championship title with a jump of 18.04, while American Will Claye took the bronze with a mark of 17.52.
There is no doubt Wilson is athletic enough to become an Olympic athlete, so I’m rooting for him to get there. It’s great that he will now have something to focus his attention on after leaving football behind.