(this new blurb is an update to an earlier story; the old story is in-full, directly underneath)
Steven Clark’s Syracuse Orange football career is over.
Syracuse.com’s Stephen Bailey received an update from Clark’s father this evening that Orange football head physician Dr. James Tucker determined that the younger Clark’s health was at risk continuing to play football.
He has been medically disqualified, and the defensive tackle will no longer be able to play at Syracuse.
Clark can remain at Syracuse University and graduate, or he can head elsewhere to continue his playing career, should another program’s medical staff deem him able to play. As indicated in the original story below, his doctors in Alabama (where Clark is from) did not hold the same opinion as a Syracuse-area doctor that he would be unable to participate in a contact sport.
We wish Clark the best, however he chooses to continue his academic and/or football career.
Syracuse Orange defensive tackle Steven Clark’s ability to return to the football field may be determined on Tuesday evening.
According to a report from Syracuse.com’s Stephen Bailey, Clark received advisement from Dr. Santo DiFino, a Syracuse-area hematologist, to avoid playing collision sports. Clark was diagnosed with a genetic disorder this offseason, causing him to be more susceptible to blood clotting.
Clark received different recommendations from his doctors in Alabama (where he’s from), who both believe his condition shouldn’t preclude him from playing football.
In the interview with Bailey, Clark’s father Steve explains that his son will be receiving an evaluation from Orange head team physician Dr. James Tucker on Tuesday evening, that will likely determine his future status with Syracuse. Should Tucker determine that DiFino’s recommendation is correct, Clark would be medically disqualified.
The defensive tackle isn’t exactly a position the Orange can do without, as anyone that’s watched the program in recent years will tell you. There are only a handful of interior linemen on campus right now -- Chris Slayton, Kayton Samuels and McKinley Williams all played defensive tackle last year. Kenneth Ruff’s also gained weight and has played on the interior part of the line this spring. Curtis Harper also arrives this summer.
According to Clark’s parents, the player is no longer on blood thinners and was cleared for full participation this offseason as he finished recovering from last year’s MCL sprain and meniscus tear that ended his year. In 2015, he had 21 tackles and two fumble recoveries. Last season, he had 16 tackles.
Fingers crossed for some good news for Clark this evening, as he learns what’s next for his football career (at Syracuse, at least).