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Navy LB Maika Polamalu retired last week, but then changed his mind

Maika Polamalu
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December 10, 2011;Landover, MD, USA;Navy Midshipmen fullback Maika Polamalu (47) prior to the game against the Army Black Knights at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Navy linebacker Maika Polamalu retired from football last week, citing undisclosed medical reasons.

On Monday, he was back on the practice field.

Coach Ken Niumatalolo said Polamalu, who is the cousin of Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Palamalu, retired voluntarily after speaking with his family about his medical issue. Niumatalolo said the medical issue had nothing to do with concussions.

“Everything medically was cleared so Maika decided to come back and we’re happy that he’s back,” Niumatalolo told the Capital Gazette.

Niumatalolo said Polamalu went through a series of tests last week and was cleared by Navy doctors to return to the field if he wanted.

Polamalu, who moved from fullback to linebacker last season, was listed as the starting inside linebacker at the beginning of fall camp, but was working with the second team on Monday.

Niumatalolo told the Capital Gazette that he did have some apprehension about having a player return to practice after previously being diagnosed with a medical issue.

In the spring, slotback Will McKamey died from a head injury he suffered on the field. McKamey had suffered a previous brain injury while playing football in high school, but doctors cleared him to play for the Midshipmen.

“Of course I have reservations,” Niumatalolo told the paper in regard to Polamalu. “The medical people cleared him. This is a decision he and his family have come to and I support them wholeheartedly.”

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