Injuries force Syracuse offensive lineman Sam Heckel to retire from football

Orange Nation

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Sam Heckel has battled through numerous injuries during his Syracuse football career, and the senior offensive lineman announced on Friday that he is stepping away from football.

Heckel announced his decision via Twitter, “I suffered multiple injuries and I am no longer able to play the sport I love.”

Heckel would have been a redshirt senior in 2020, and he could have applied for a medical redshirt after missing 11 games of the 2019 season.

Heckel was a prominent member of the Syracuse offensive line since his first snap as a member of the Orange.

The Waukesha, Wisconsin native started every game at left guard and led the team in knockdown blocks with 41 as a redshirt freshman in 2017. In his sophomore season, Heckel averaged one knockdown block for every 22.8 snaps played, which was also a team high. 

Heckel was set up to be one of the backbones of the offensive line in 2019, but an injury in the first game of the season against Liberty ended his season prematurely. 

A great player on the field, Heckel made a huge impact off the field as well.

In 2018, he was a finalist for the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award for his commitment to making a positive difference in the rare-disease community, and in 2019 he was named as a member of the inaugural Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Team.

The offensive lineman suffers from a rare blood disorder himself called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), and it forces him to get 14-20 hour blood transfusions three times a week. 

Heckel will be honored with the other four members of the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Team at the Maxwell Football Awards Gala in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Friday, March 6, and again at a special event in Philadelphia on March 7.

Heckel was looked at as an important piece to Syracuse’s offensive line heading into 2020, but now the Orange will have to look elsewhere.


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