GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Randy Russell had barely settled in at Florida as a promising safety and early enrollee in the Gators’ 2018 recruiting class when news came that he won’t get to play a game for the school. Florida announced Thursday that Russell’s physical revealed an “abnormality” in his cardiac workup that will prohibit him from being cleared to play football for the Gators.
Russell wrote in a post on Twitter that he was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick.
“As tragic as this is for Randy and his family to hear this news, this discovery is life-saving for him,” Gators coach Dan Mullen said in a statement. “We will be fully supportive in any way we can for Randy and his family. He will continue to be a part of the Gator football family and we will assist him in his academic pursuits at the University of Florida.”
It’s not clear if that means Russell’s scholarship will be honored.
He shared his thoughts about the life-altering news Thursday on Twitter.
“In life, God will throw things at you that don’t quite make sense. At that moment, they may seem unbelievable and even unbearable. It is important to know that everything happens for a reason,” he wrote. “It is important to use those roadblocks to motivate you and not discourage you. A week ago, I began my journey as a student athlete at the University of Florida. Today, I was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. A heart condition that prevents me from continuing with the hopes of playing college football and becoming a professional football player.
“It is extremely hard to believe that after going through the process of early graduation, and consistently and physically preparing myself for the next level, today, that all comes to an end. This is the last thing I expected to hear and I would not wish this upon my worst enemy.”