Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick is out indefinitely with the incurable and potentially career-threatening Guillian-Barre syndrome.
Per the Mayo Clinic, it’s a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body.
Frederick has been sidelined the last two weeks because of recurring stingers in his neck. He initially sought treatment from noted Los Angeles spine doctor Dr. Robert Watkins last week before seeing more specialists in Dallas the past two days.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressed optimism on Tuesday about Frederick possibly being ready for the Sept. 9 season opener against the Carolina Panthers after sitting out the rest of the preseason. Coach Jason Garrett and vice president Stephen Jones weren’t as positive in recent days.
Frederick announced the final diagnosis via a statement through the Cowboys on Wednesday afternoon.
“After a very extensive examination and discovery process over the past few weeks, I have been diagnosed with having Guillain Barre Syndrome which is an auto immune disease,” Frederick said.
“In the last 48 hours, I have received two treatments that address my condition, and I am feeling much better from an overall strength perspective. I will continue these treatments over the next few days. I am very optimistic about my condition and the immediate future, as I have been told that the illness was detected at a fairly early stage.
“My doctors have told me that it is not possible to determine a time table for a return to the field right now, but I am hopeful that I will be able to play as soon as possible.
“I am deeply grateful for all of the people who have expressed concern for me throughout the past four weeks, and my teammates and the Cowboys organization have provided me and my family with tremendous support.”
The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown, according to the Mayo Clinic. There’s no known cure, but several treatments can ease symptoms and reduce the duration of the illness. And most people recover from it, though some experience some lingering effects.
It is unknown at this time if Frederick will return to the Cowboys this season or be able to play football ever again.
His loss is a huge setback for the Cowboys offense as Frederick was considered one of the best centers in the NFL and was the undisputed leader up front who called the protection packages.
A 2013 first-round pick from Wisconsin, Frederick was named to the last four Pro Bowls.
As of now, Joe Looney will play center in Frederick’s absence.