Former Penn State running back Akeel Lynch has made a decision more and more football players are making these days. Lynch has announced his retirement from football after going through two concussions. Lynch, who transferred to Nevada this year, announced his decision to retire on his Twitter account on Monday.
Lynch appeared in four games for Nevada this season, rushing just eight times for 29 yards in limited action. He transferred to Nevada as a graduate transfer from Penn State, where he rushed for 282 yards and two touchdowns last fall and 678 yards and four touchdowns in 2014. The emergence of Saquon Barkley last season at Penn State left Lynch on the lookout for a place to get some playing time in his final year of eligibility, but unfortunately issues with concussions intervened with his plan at Nevada.
Lynch was a three-star recruit out of New York in Penn State’s Class of 2012. At the time, he was considered a key addition to the first recruiting class under Bill O’Brien. Penn State made the decision to retire the uniform number 22 in honor of the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner, John Cappelletti. Because Lynch was still a part of the program at the time of that decision, and at the request of Cappelletti, Lynch was to be the final Penn State player to wear the uniform number. Staying true to that decision, no player on Penn State’s roster wears the No. 22.
Lynch’s tale is an unfortunate one and a reminder of just how much the awareness and emphasis on head trauma is impacting the game and the players who play it. As time goes by, we learn more and more about the long-term impact of injuries to the head, which is why the rules have been amended and why teams are taking more precautions about blows to the head. We also see more and more players stepping away from football and a younger age, including in college and in the NFL.
Here’s hoping the best for Lynch in whatever comes next for him.
Helmet sticker to Lions 247.