Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick announced Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a neurological disorder. The four-time Pro Bowler, a stalwart in his team’s lineup since he entered the league in 2013, said that he had no timetable to return to the field but was “hopeful” that he “will be able to play as soon as possible.”
In a note posted to his Twitter account, Frederick said that the autoimmune disease was discovered after a “very extensive examination and discovery process over the past few weeks.” He added that he had received two treatments for his condition over the past 48 hours, was feeling “much better from an overall strength perspective” and would “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,” Frederick said. “My doctors have told me that it is not possible to determine a timetable for a return to the field right now, but I am hopeful that I will be able to play as soon as possible.”
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a “rare” condition in which the body’s immune system “mistakenly attacks part of its peripheral nervous system — the network of nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord.” Its effects can range from mild to paralyzing, but most people can recover from even severe cases, albeit possibly with some lingering weakness.
It is not known, per the NINDS, exactly what causes the syndrome, but it can occur in people at any age. Among the early symptoms are “tingling” sensations, and Frederick said (via the AP) that he experienced what felt like stingers in his neck and shoulders while the Cowboys were at their training camp in California. He saw a specialist there, then continued to consult with medical experts when the team returned to Dallas, where Guillain-Barre was diagnosed through bloodwork (per ESPN).
A Wisconsin product, Frederick was considered by some draft analysts to have been a reach when the Cowboys selected him in the first round, 31st overall, in 2013. However, he quickly proved more than worthy of his draft slot, becoming an above-average starter right away and playing in every game of his five-year career as Dallas has boasted one of the league’s best offensive lines.
However, that streak is in jeopardy, with the Cowboys’ season opener two and a half weeks away on Sept. 9. The team might also start the season without four-time Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin, who suffered a hyperextended knee in Dallas’s preseason game Saturday against the Bengals.
Joe Looney, a seventh-year veteran with 13 career starts, is filling in at center for the time being, and he said Wednesday, “You can’t replace a guy like Travis Frederick.”
“He’s a wonderful football player, but more importantly he’s a wonderful guy,” Looney added. “I’m just trying to come out here and work as hard as he did, and keep this thing rolling.”
“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,” Frederick said.
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