Syracuse football head coach Dino Babers has said countless times that he likes to build his times from the inside-out, focusing on the the offensive and defensive lines. One of Babers’ big men will have to forfeit his final year of eligibility and Syracuse will lose a key piece of their defensive line. Defensive Tackle Steven Clark has been medically disqualified due to a genetic disorder that puts him at risk of clotting.
Clark’s dad spoke to Syracuse.com after his son met with an independent hematologist.
“There’s a higher risk of clotting and (the doctor) is uncomfortable with him playing a collision sport,”
The same doctor said that he believes that Clark will have to be on blood thinners for the rest of his life. The disorder was discovered after Clark sprained his MCL and was fitted for a brace. After a couple of days with his fitted brace, Clark had severe pain in his leg and could not walk. He was admitted to the emergency room where an ultrasound revealed that he had four blood clots. These clots have since resolved and Clark and his family believe that the brace was too tight, causing the blood to be restricted. The blood clots led to further tests being done which revealed that Clark had a genetic disorder, which could put him at risk for blood clots in the future.
Clark says that he has about a “five percent” chance of developing clots due to football, but it was a risk that the doctor was not willing to take.
So what does this actually mean for Syracuse? Well Clark was really only one of two returning interior linemen for Syracuse for the 2017 season with redshirt junior Chris Slayton also coming back. Yes, the Orange brought in four defensive linemen in the 2016 cycle and will add seven in the 2017 cycle, but Syracuse will need leadership in the trenches. Babers will have to hope that some of his young guys are ready to step up and shoulder a bigger role without Steven Clark for the 2017 season.