Clemson star retires from football after bout with coronavirus

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A Clemson Tigers football player is calling it a career over medical concerns, including a bout with the coronavirus that cost him his entire senior season.

Justin Foster, a defensive end, announced on social media on Wednesday night that the virus, combined with longstanding allergy and asthma issues, have forced him to walk away from the game for good.

"Today is a difficult day for me, but it is also a day of reflection and gratitude," Foster said. "With sadness but no regret, I have decided it is in my best interest to call it a career and hang up football. ...

"For those unaware, I was born with asthma and allergies that, when active, affect my ability to breathe normally. The combination of these conditions, along with contracting COVID, made for a severe difficulty to perform physically."

Foster, a native of North Carolina, was an honorable mention All-ACC selection in 2019, his junior year. He had 41 tackles that season, including 10.5 for a loss and 4.5 sacks. He had three tackles in the Tigers' loss to LSU in the 2019 national title game, including a sack of Heisman winner Joe Burrow.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney reportedly said on Wednesday that Foster had a "very tough" time after being diagnosed with the virus.

"He had a very tough fall," Swinney said, according to ESPN. "He's always had challenges with [asthma and allergies], but when he got COVID last summer, that really set him back."

Swinney said he had hoped Foster would remain with the team in the event that he was feeling well enough to play again, but said Foster's decision was impacted by a prospective job opportunity. Foster graduated last year, per ESPN.

"While my situation has improved, I am not in a position now, nor do I see that position soon, to step back on the field," Foster's statement said. "After consulting with multiple medical professionals, my focus is more so on recover for the long term. This decision came after months of recovery and treatment, which required asking a lot of difficult questions regarding my future.

"I want to thank the Clemson medical staff and all the doctors involved in my treatment in their efforts to get me back to full health. While I still have a way to go, I feel confident that I will fully recover."

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