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Penn State RB Journey Brown, 21, retires due to heart issue

Penn State RB Journey Brown, 21, retires due to heart issue
Penn State running back Journey Brown (4) led the team in yards and touchdowns last season, but did not play this season after doctors discovered he had a heart disease. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Penn State running back Journey Brown has medically retired from football after he was diagnosed with a heart condition. Brown is 21 years old.

Nittany Lions coach James Franklin announced the move Wednesday when he met with reporters. Brown then went on social media and explained how he learned of the diagnosis. The redshirt junior had been held out this season after the school announced in October that a medical condition was discovered.

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"I finally had the opportunity to showcase what I was born to do, and hopefully set myself up to achieve my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL," Brown wrote on social media.

"Unfortunately, that dream will never be realized as I have been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which will force me to medically retire from the game of football."

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Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disease that involves the thickening of the heart muscle, which leads to abnormal valve function and may impeded blood flow out of the heart. The disease can cause shortness of breath, chest pain or issues in the heart's electrical system, which can lead to sudden death or life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms.

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"The pain of not being able to play the game I love anymore hurts and I can't explain how I'm feeling right now," Brown wrote.

"However, I can walk away from the game knowing I truly gave my all at every practice, on every down and in the locker room every day."

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Franklin said Brown's disease was discovered through a COVID-19 test, but is not COVID-related.

"We learned about this in early September, and we've been working through this and dealing with this as a team," Franklin told reporters.

"Journey is one of the most popular and respected players on our team. The entire organization has rallied behind Journey and his family."

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Brown had a team-high 890 yards and 12 touchdowns in 10 games last season. He has assisted the team's coaching staff this season. The Nittany Lions face Nebraska at noon EST on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

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