In a big blow to the Buffalo Bills both on and off the field, center Eric Wood announced Friday he has a career-ending neck injury.
"I was diagnosed with a neck injury as part of my season-ending physical with the Bills," Wood tweeted Friday. "After consultation with Dr. Cappuccino and other physicians, I was informed that I was no longer cleared to play football, even with surgery or further treatment. I appreciate and thank everyone for their thoughts, concerns and prayers and I will shed more light on the situation at a press conference on Monday at the team facility."
The injury is partly due to wear and tear, but one source characterized it as a “complicated medical situation.”
The Bills shortly after tweeted confirmation: "Our center. Our captain. Our leader. Though retirement came earlier than planned, congratulations on an incredible career, Eric Wood. #ThankYouEric"
The team further said Wood, a nine-year-veteran, had fully intended to continue playing football, as he cleaned out his locker at the end of the 2017 season. Then, the shocking news came during his exit physical: "During Wood’s exit physical at the end of the 2017 season a discovery was made that would put the center’s future health at risk were he to continue to play football."
Wood, 31, is not only one of the pillars of the Bills' offensive line, but a leader off the field with his community work. His foundation, the Eric Wood Foundation, provides seriously ill, special needs and physically challenged children throughout Greater Buffalo and Louisville, KY with daily encouragement and life-changing experiences, according to its online description. He had a brother who was born with a pinched brain stem and passed away at age 11.
Wood was drafted by the Bills in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of the University of Louisville. He played in his first-ever playoff game just weeks ago. Wood also welcomed a new son this month.