Sadly, Frankie Telfort's career as a Trojan has ended before it even began.
An incoming freshman linebacker out of Miami, Telfort has been diagnosed with a serious genetic heart condition that will prevent him from playing football for USC.
"This is obviously very difficult news for Frankie, his family and all of us in the football program," Coach Pete Carroll said. "But we're very thankful doctors discovered the issue before it led to anything worse."
Telfort was examined by several of L.A.'s top heart specialists before flying to the Minneapolis Heart Institute last week for a final opinion. Cardiologists determined the 17-year-old had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that affects 1 in 500 Americans and is the most common cardiovascular cause of sudden death in the world. Telfort has consequently not received medical clearance to play football at USC, but discovering the problem at this stage most likely saved his life.
Even though his playing career at USC is over, Telfort will remain a part of the Trojan Family. Athletic Director Mike Garrett will honor his full scholarship, and Telfort is planning to continue on as a student at USC, with an expected graduation date of May 2013.
"Everybody's football career unfortunately ends at some point and no one's ever ready for it," a solemn Carroll said. "For some guys, it comes sooner than expected. But you're a football player and a Trojan for life, and Frankie is definitely both."