Nick Frank, Stanford's starting fullback for the past two seasons, has a cervical spine condition that will force him to retire from football.
Frank’s latest setback may stop him from playing football again, but it won’t prevent him from trying to reach other goals.
Frank was diagnosed this week with a narrowing of a vertebra in his spine, an injury that will end his football career. It will, however, add new meaning to pursuing medicine as a career choice.
The New Orleans native has had repeated episodes of neurological symptoms and on the advice of Stanford medical personnel, decided to call it quits.
Frank, a human biology major, experienced symptoms in Stanford's game at San Jose State.
Frank was also personally affected by last year’s Hurricane Katrina, which left his family and extended family homeless for a while. His high school was underwater and remains uninhabitable.
"I think Nick Frank has been a tremendous football player for Stanford University," Stanford coach Walt Harris said. "He moved from nose tackle to fullback two years ago and made a remarkable transition. He was embarking on a tremendous senior year and it is extremely unfortunate that this condition has occurred. Health is obviously our top priority. Nick will always be part of the Stanford family and we know he will be successful in his future endeavors."
Frank, who lists boiled crawfish as his favorite food, came to Stanford as a nose tackle in 2003, and was moved to fullback in 2005.
As a nose tackle, he played in 21 of 22 games, including 10 as a true freshman.
He became the Cardinal’s starting fullback last year, and started the past 13 games.
Frank rushed for 137 yards with four touchdowns in his career. He also caught 18 for another 130 yards.
Listed among the best defensive line prospects in the nation as a senior at Holy Cross School in Louisiana, Frank accounted for 127 total tackles, 20 quarterback sacks, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 10 blocked passes, five blocked field goals and three blocked punts as a defensive end during his senior season. SuperPrep named him to their All-Southwest Team and a member of the Louisiana 45 as one of the top prospects in the state. TheInsiders.com and Rivals.com also listed him among the top defensive ends in the nation.
Frank’s announcement came three days after it was revealed that senior wide receiver Mark Bradford is sidelined indefinitely with torn ligaments in his right foot.
NOTES: Stanford quarterback Trent Edwards was named to the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team on Friday. Edwards is the first-ever Stanford player to receive the honor, and the only Pac-10 player so honored this year. The team honors players for their dedication and commitment to community service. Edwards is an active volunteer in the YES reading program in Mountain View, volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula, assists with various youth clinics put on by the coaches and team, and makes frequent appearances to elementary schools on behalf of the Stanford football team.