Illinois lineman Ryan Klachko will retire from football before ever playing in a game for the Illini, coach Tim Beckman announced Tuesday. Klachko, a redshirt freshman, suffered a string of concussions throughout camp and in recent weeks and retires on doctors' advice.
Klachko, a graduate of Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, was a Chicago Tribune All-State selection in his senior year. He spent a year as a redshirt at Nebraska and transferred to Illinois in the offseason. Klachko was sitting out the 2012 season in accordance with NCAA rules. He will receive a medical exemption scholarship, and plans on working with Illinois football staff toward a career as a strength and conditioning coach.
Beckman had this to say about Klachko's future:
"He still wants to be involved in this football team," Beckman said. "The Illini are important to him...He's distraught by it, but he totally understands he has to look to what's best for the future."
Andrew Carr, another Illinois offensive lineman, was forced to retire from football in 2011 after having a benign brain tumor removed. He is now a student assistant on the Illini staff.