With fall camp set to start on Monday, this is normally a happy time full of good expectations and hope for Pitt football in the coming season. Players are no doubt looking forward to the start of another season, or their first season if they are freshmen. Unfortunately, five Pitt players have been ruled medically unavailable for the 2016 season with two of them permanently so.
Pat Narduzzi announced earlier today that freshman DB George Hill and RS Junior DT Justin Moody will no longer be able to play football. George Hill has a pre-existing cardiac condition that prevents him from being medically safe playing football. Justin Moody has a cervical spine condition that will also keep him from playing football again.
Narduzzi also announced the freshman DL Zack Gilbert (son of Pitt great Sean Gilbert), RS Sophomore TE Chris Clark, and RS Sophomore OL Mike Grimm will all be held out this year as well. Gilbert also has a cardiac condition that will be reviewed after the season to see if he can continue playing football. Chris Clark had offseason knee surgery, and Mike Grimm had offseason hip surgery.
This is frankly extremely sad news to hear. Just from a human perspective, it’s terrible that two young men have had their football careers cut short. Every football player has dreams of playing college and pro ball, and to be denied that is sad.
George Hill was one of the gems of Pitt’s 2016 classes as a 4 star recruit out of Ohio, and was set to likely contribute this year. Justin Moody never saw significant time for Pitt, but still had a full two years left to find his role. Zack Gilbert would have likely redshirt this year, but looking at the roster it’s clear to see he will be very much needed after this year. For his sake and Pitt’s, hopefully he is cleared to play after this season. Chris Clark was going to sit out this year because of transfer restrictions anyway, but hopefully he recovers well enough in time for spring camp in 2017. Mike Grimm has not contributed on the field yet, but as a young OL that’s almost expected.
For Hill, Moody, and Gilbert, it’s good these conditions were found now and not when it was too late. Symptoms of these types of conditions sometimes don’t show until it’s fatal. While their football careers are either over or in jeopardy, hopefully their lives off the field won’t be affected. Both Hill and Moody will be retained on scholarship until they finish so they can at least take advantage of a free education.