College Football Star Justin Foster Forced to Retire Due to COVID Complications and Asthma

"With sadness but no regret, I have decided it is in my best interest to call it a career and hang up football," the Clemson Tigers defensive end wrote in a statement posted to Twitter

Justin Foster
Photo: Jeff Silva/Getty Images

Clemson Tigers defensive end Justin Foster is retiring from football due to complications with asthma after contracting COVID-19.

The football player announced his departure from the sport on Twitter on Wednesday.

"With sadness but no regret, I have decided it is in my best interest to call it a career and hang up football," he wrote. "During my four years as a Clemson Tiger, I've always pursued success in the classroom and on the field while preparing and training with the highest competition standards, passion, and perseverance."

Foster explained that he was born with asthma, which made it more difficult to perform physically. After contracting COVID-19, he has experienced complications that made physical activity even harder.

"While my situation has improved, I am not in a position now, nor do I see that position soon, to step back on the field," he wrote. "The decision came after months of recovery and treatment, which required asking a lot of difficult questions about my future...While I still have a way to go, I feel confident I will fully recover."

Clemson's head coach Dabo Swinney said that Foster, who initially tested positive for COVID-19 in August and missed the entire 2020 season, was doing much better than he was after his initial diagnosis, according to ESPN.

"He had a very tough fall," Swinney told ESPN. "He's always had challenges with [asthma and allergies] but when he got COVID last summer, that really set him back."

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Foster is the second Clemson defensive player to contract COVID-19, the outlet reports. Defensive end Xavier Thomas tested positive in April, and had symptoms that forced him to miss all of fall camp and the early part of the 2020 season.

Several other players on the team have also contracted the virus over the past year, including quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

In November, Swinney criticized Florida State University for opting to postpone their game against the Tigers following Lawrence's positive test, calling it "an excuse to cancel the game," writes ESPN.

"This game was not canceled because of COVID," Swinney said to the sports outlet. "COVID was just an excuse to cancel the game. I have no doubt their players wanted to play and would have played. And same with the coaches. To me, the Florida State administration forfeited the game."

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