Utah’s most experienced quarterback cleared a huge hurdle Tuesday in his quest to get back on the football field after it was once feared that his career was over.
Junior Travis Wilson was medically cleared for full contact following a CT scan that showed that a once-threatening artery injury remains stable. With a clean bill of health, he’ll have a chance to reclaim his starting role by Aug. 28 when the Utes open up the season against Idaho State.
"Obviously, it’s great news that Travis has been medically cleared to play football again," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said in a school news release. "Travis’ health was our number one concern and we’re relieved for him and his family that he is OK."
There is no immediate plan for Wilson to be tested throughout the season, though his condition could be reevaluated in about a year, spokeswoman Liz Abel said.
Wilson participated in spring football but wore a non-contact jersey throughout the month-long camp. He himself admitted he was rusty at the start — coming off a hiatus of a few months away from the game — but showed progress in scrimmage situations.
There has been doubt over Wilson’s health ever since he suffered a concussion against Arizona State last November. While he was undergoing exams for the concussion, doctors discovered damage to an intracranial artery that supplies blood to the brain. He immediately stopped all football activities before being cleared in February to participate in non-contact drills.
This step is a considerable one, the California native acknowledged in a statement sent out by the school.
"My condition is stable and the neurosurgeon predicted it will remain stable in the future," Wilson said. "I had a feeling nothing would change from the previous scan, so I’ve been working to get back into shape. I feel totally comfortable about returning to football and full contact."
As a starter, Wilson is 7-9 for the Utes while passing for 3,138 yards and 23 touchdowns in 21 total games. He had some struggles last season, throwing 16 interceptions.
Wilson still has a battle ahead for the starting job, as he’ll be competing with highly touted Oklahoma transfer Kendal Thompson in addition to freshman Connor Manning, junior Adam Schulz and freshman Brandon Cox.
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