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Ex-Trinity star looks forward to life after football

Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review file
Former WPIAL and Ohio State football player Andrew Sweat photographed on team photo day on August 7, 2008 in Columbus, Ohio.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012, 12:29 a.m.
 

Andrew Sweat held the dream of playing in the NFL for 18 years, from age 5 through his 23rd birthday last month.

The dream died — at Sweat's own hand — in a matter of hours.

Sweat, who played at Trinity High School and started at outside linebacker for Ohio State the past three seasons, signed a three-year contract with the Cleveland Browns three weeks ago after he was bypassed in the NFL Draft.

But after falling in the shower and hitting his head before the first practice of rookie camp this past Friday, Sweat told the Browns he was retiring. He said he suffered three concussions at Ohio State — one in each of his final three seasons — and the symptoms from the last one didn't disappear until March.

He had no intention of risking a fourth.

“I want to have a life after football,” Sweat said. “I don't want to get dinged again and be brain dead. Football is a game I love, and it opened a lot of doors for me. But I am definitely more than just football. I think I am more well-rounded than that.”

Sweat studied business, finance and marketing at Ohio State, graduating with a 3.4 grade-point average and a double major in accounting and finance. He said he has been accepted into five law schools — his father Gary is an attorney in Washington — and he also will consider a job in medical sales.

Sweat, 6-foot-1, 238 pounds, was second on the team in tackles last season (72) and was an All-Big Ten second team selection. He said it was difficult to forfeit a shot at an NFL career, but when concussion symptoms returned in Cleveland, he knew it was time to quit.

After suffering his third concussion during the Purdue game Nov. 12, Sweat experienced dizziness, fogginess and memory loss that lingered into March.

Ohio State doctors cleared him to play Nov. 26 against Michigan, but, in what could be considered a fortunate injury, Sweat hurt his elbow in practice that week and didn't play.

“I guess it was a blessing in disguise,” he said.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jdipaola@tribweb.com or 412-320-7997.

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