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Concussion issues force UNC lineman Tommy Hatton to give up football

North Carolina offensive lineman Tommy Hatton (52) works on his technique with graduate assistant coach Andrew Mitchell during Tar Heels practice on August 10, 2015 at Navy Field in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina offensive lineman Tommy Hatton (52) works on his technique with graduate assistant coach Andrew Mitchell during Tar Heels practice on August 10, 2015 at Navy Field in Chapel Hill. rwillett@newsobserver.com

North Carolina offensive lineman Tommy Hatton is retiring from football after dealing with concussion problems.

The third-year sophomore from Glen Rock, N.J., wrote on his Instagram account on Thursday that he missed all of the 2017 season after he suffered a concussion as a result of a routine hit in practice in early August.

 

Since I been a sophomore in high school over my bed has read " I will play in the NFL." Unfortunately that dream will not be able to be achieved. On August 3rd, I received a routine hit in practice that left me hospitalized and in a concussion state for close to four months. Unfortunately this was not my first concussion but rather my fourth. During this time I did all types of therapies to try and subside my concussion symptoms so that I could return to the field in 2018. After meeting with some of the best neurologist in the nation I have decided that I will medically retire from football. When people ask me will I miss football the answer is simply YES. I gave everything to this game since I been a little boy, but life has a way of throwing you curveballs at the most unexpected times. I can leave football knowing that I gave everything that I had and more in order to help my team win on game day. I was never the most talented player, but the one thing that I always had was heart and it took me far in this game. So unfortunately I won't be playing on Sundays and it will hurt for a little bit but I will take all these lessons that football has taught me and apply it to whatever life throws at me. Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the years, especially the great people of New Jersey, your guys support has been so paramount to my success and I would not be here with out you all. I want to thank Coach Fedora and his staff for believing in me and offering me a scholarship to play football at the University of North Carolina. Thanks to all the great teammates that I have had over the years I love you all and thanks for making football the best experience of my life.

A post shared by Tommy Hatton (@hatton96) on

Hatton, who started eight games in 2016, said it was the fourth concussion of his career and that he had to be hospitalized after the most recent one.

Hatton wrote: “… I did all types of therapies to try and subside my concussion symptoms so that I could return to the field in 2018. After meeting with some of the best neurologist in the nation I have decided that I will medically retire from football.”

Hatton, who was one of the top-rated offensive linemen coming out of New Jersey in 2015 and one of the top center prospects in the country, was penciled in to start at left guard for the Tar Heels this past season.

He redshirted his first year in Chapel Hill and then started the 2016 opener against Georgia at right guard. He stepped in for left guard after starter Caleb Peterson and started the last six games there.

Hatton said it had been his dream to play in the NFL and wrote in his Instagram post about it will be difficult to give up on his dream and how much he will miss football.

“I can leave football knowing that I gave everything that I had and more in order to help my team win on game day,” Hatton wrote. “I was never the most talented player, but the one thing that I always had was heart and it took me far in this game. So unfortunately I won't be playing on Sundays and it will hurt for a little bit but I will take all these lessons that football has taught me and apply it to whatever life throws at me.”

Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

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