Eye problem could end Overstreet's career

September 10, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

An eye injury that forced former Boyle County all-state lineman Brodie Overstreet to miss last season at Wake Forest has again caused him to be sidelined indefinitely.

Overstreet, a 310-pound redshirt freshman, made his collegiate debut Saturday for Wake Forest when he started at right guard against Clemson. However, Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe announced Thursday that Overstreet would be out "indefinitely because of an increased risk of a permanent retinal injury in his left eye."

Overstreet needed several surgeries on a detached retina in his right eye after helping Boyle win the 2002 Class AAA state championship. He spent last season at Wake Forest letting the eye heal, but he was cleared to play this year.

Grobe said Overstreet began experiencing vision difficulty in his left eye Tuesday and did not practice Wednesday. Thursday, which was his 19th birthday, he was examined by doctors and told that the motion and contact associated with football put him at a greater risk of permanent injury.


A release from Wake Forest said Overstreet would be re-evaluated at a later time and that there is no timetable for his return.

"That's a real shame. Brodie is a kid with NFL potential," said Boyle County coach Chuck Smith. "I watched him on TV Saturday. He was really nervous, but he played well. I just hate this for him."

Grobe did not sound optimistic about Overstreet's chances of playing again.

"We're disappointed for a kid who started his first college game as a 18-year-old redshirt freshman," Grobe said. "Not being able to have Brodie is a tough loss for us on the football field. But it's a blessing for Brodie that they caught the problem so early. Taking a chance on losing your eyesight is just not a risk worth taking. Our concern for him is no different as it would be for our own children.

"Brodie is a great kid who can still have a great academic career at Wake Forest. He can do great things outside football."

Dean Buchan, Wake Forest's assistant athletics director for media relations, said everyone at Wake Forest was distraught over Overstreet's plight.

"He is a big-time player who did a heck of a job in his first game last week," Buchan said. "This hurts our football team, but for his sake it is a good thing they caught this when they did. But he's such a great kid, you just hate this for him."

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