Journey Brown's football career is over. On Wednesday, the Penn State running back announced he's retiring from football due to a newly diagnosed heart condition. He said he has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and will no longer play the game that he loves.
"The pain of not being able to play the game I love anymore hurts and I can’t explain how I am feeling right now," Brown wrote in a Facebook post. "However, I can walk away from the game knowing I truly gave my all at every practice, on every down, and in the locker room every day." Brown went on to say, "You never know when you will play your last snap, but I know I left it all out there and have no regrets, other than wishing I could step on the field one final time."
He then went on to send messages to the people who have supported him over the years. "Thank you to my family for always supporting me, especially during these difficult past few months. Thank you to my teammates, my brothers. Thank you to my coaches. Thank you, Meadville," Brown wrote. "Thank you, Penn State. Thank you to everyone who believed in me. Most importantly, thank you, football!"
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a "disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied). The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood," according to the Mayo Clinic. It can go undiagnosed because "many people with the disease have few if any, symptoms and can lead normal lives with no significant problems." The Mayo Clinic also says a small number of people with HCM could deal with issues such as shortness of breath, chest pain or problems in the heart's electrical system.
"Journey is one of the most popular and respected players on our team," Penn State coach James Franklin said on its official website. "When we found out about this in early September, the entire organization rallied behind Journey and his family. We need Nittany Nation to do the same, as I know we will. Journey's handled this unbelievably well and I know he'll be extremely successful, whatever he decides to do." Brown played a total of 22 games and rushed for 934 yards on 137 carries and 13 touchdowns. This season, Brown rushed for 593 yards on 78 carriers with seven touchdowns on the 2020 Doak Walker, Hornung and Maxwell Award preseason watch lists.