Utah quarterback Travis Wilson received the news he had been hoping for on Monday with doctor examinations revealing there was no change in the intracranial arterial condition that cut short his 2013 season and threatened to end his career.
As a result, Wilson has been cleared to participate in non-contact drills when the Utes begin spring practice March 18.
“We are very excited,” said Wilson’s mother, JoMarie, who was in Salt Lake City with her son to hear the news Monday. “It has taken a lot of pressure off him. He has been trying to hold it together.”
Wilson’s condition was discovered after he suffered a concussion against Arizona State on Nov. 9. The ensuing exams revealed the condition, leading to the decision that Wilson would not play again for the remainder of the year while doctors monitored his condition.
“Travis’ most recent studies have all been stable,” said Utah team doctor David Petron in a statement. “He has been cleared to return to non-contact practice with the team and he will be re-evaluated in July.”
Utah’s quarterbacks normally aren’t hit in practice, making the limitations a moot point for Wilson.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was unavailable for comment.
JoMarie Wilson expressed relief at the news.
“There have been a lot of things he has had to deal with this year outside of football with the death of his friend [UCLA receiver Nick Pasquale] and it’s nice to finally hear some good news,” she said.
The sophomore underwent numerous exams in Salt Lake City as well as in California to assess his condition. While there were no clear answers as to why or when the condition developed, Wilson’s mother said she was totally confident in the doctors’ decision to let him participate.
“They will make sure he will be monitored, but it will be great seeing him back on the field,” she said. “I’m totally confident in the doctors and Travis. The team is behind him too. They love him.”
Wilson went 4-5 as the Utes’ starter in 2013, finishing 133-of-237 for 1,827 yards and 16 touchdowns along with 16 interceptions.
Wilson struggled with turnovers, particularly after suffering a hand injury that hampered his throwing motion, but those issues haven’t changed his status in the eyes of Utah’s coaches.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said recently that if Wilson was cleared to play, he would resume the role of Utah’s starting quarterback, although no starting position is ever guaranteed.
Sophomore Adam Schulz took over as the starter when Wilson was sidelined and went 75-of-154 for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions. He’ll compete for playing time with freshmen Brandon Cox, Micah Thomas and Conner Manning when the Utes open spring camp.
Wilson became Utah’s starting quarterback in 2012 when Jordan Wynn was forced to retire due to recurring shoulder injuries.
Having Wilson back should be a boost for a Utah offense that must adjust to a new offensive coordinator with Dave Christensen replacing Brian Johnson and Dennis Erickson.
Johnson has left the program for Mississippi State while Erickson will coach the running backs in 2014.