Clemson football player retires after experiencing COVID complications

Clemson football player Justin Foster has decided to retire after experiencing some lingering complications stemming from his COVID-19 diagnosis last year.

Justin Foster has played his last down for Clemson football. The senior defensive end has decided to retire from football after experiencing difficulties in his road to recovery from his COVID-19 diagnosis last summer.

Foster missed all of the 2020 season after contracting the virus, which infected nearly one-third of the Clemson football team, including star quarterback Trevor Lawrence who missed two games.

In 2019, Foster was an honorable mention All-ACC performer after recording 41 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. For his Clemson football career, Foster played in 39 games, making 13 starts and finishing his career with 66 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. His last sack came in the National Championship Game vs. LSU when he took down Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. In fact, 2.5 of his seven career sacks came in College Football Playoff games.

Clemson football player Justin Foster retiring after having COVID complications

“While my situation has improved, I am not in a position to step back on the field,” Foster shared in a statement posted to Twitter. “After consulting multiple medical professionals, my focus is more so on recovering for the long term,” Foster wrote. “This decision came after months of recovery and treatment, which required asking a lot of difficult decisions regarding my future.”

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney said Foster has had asthma and allergies which contributed to the tough recovery from COVID. While Foster is doing much better now than he was last fall, he’s not in a position to return to football.

“He had a very tough fall. COVID was a very tough thing for him. Justin has always battled asthma and allergies. He’s always had challenges with that. But when he got COVID last summer, that really set him back,” Swinney said, via Yahoo!. “He’s way better than he was back in August but he’s still working through that.”

Swinney mentioned Foster has some exciting job opportunities outside of football and said he’s “brilliant” but his future lies outside of football for now. Perhaps he’ll return to the game and Clemson in the years ahead in a coaching capacity just as C.J. Spiller is doing now.

“He’s a brilliant young man. He’s incredibly smart. He has a lot of interests and he’s very, very talented. He’s got a great career ahead of him,” Swinney said.

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