Indiana University junior quarterback Zander Diamont announced Saturday that he plans to walk away from football at the end of this season due to long-term health concerns.
The 21-year-old backup, who featured mostly as a rushing threat and sometimes drew comparisons to Johnny Manziel, never shied away from taking hits during his collegiate career. Although he is undersized at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, he refused to slide or go out of bounds before contact out of "respect" for the game.
"That's just not my style and if I'm going to go out, I'm going to go out my way," he said. "I think that for my safety and my future – I'm not going to the NFL – I need my brain. So that was the decision."
Diamont did not say how many concussions he has suffered, but Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson said he thought the hits had caught up to him.
"One of his gifts is his ability to run, but he's a small guy and he plays with a lot of heart and a lot of courage," Wilson said. "I think some of those hits are adding up on him."
Indiana's football team has been up and down this season, finishing their regular season at 6-6. After their upcoming bowl game, Diamont said he will graduate over the summer and pursue a career in "entertainment."
"Entertainment industry is where I'm planning on going but we'll see. I mean, who knows what's gonna happen. You never know," he said.
He added: "This game is life and I couldn't be more grateful for the growth it's brought me."
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