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Cowboys center Travis Frederick revealed some awful news on Wednesday, as the All-Pro lineman announced on Twitter that he had been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Frederick said he has already received two treatments for his condition in the last two days and that he is optimistic because his disease had been caught at a relatively early stage, but his doctors have told him he will be out indefinitely as he continues treatment.
Frederick’s health had been in question over the last few weeks due to frequent neck stingers, but it’s doubtful anyone expected news like this.
What is Guillain-Barre syndrome?
Per the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Guillain-Barre syndrome is “a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of its peripheral nervous system—the network of nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord.”
The condition is reportedly quite rare, affecting about one in about 100,000 people each year. It can afflict people of any age and any sex. Its causes are unknown and it is not contagious nor genetically inherited.
The most notable symptom of GBS is significant muscle weakness, but the NINHS says that symptoms can also include difficulty with vision and swallowing, pricking sensations in the hands and feet and abnormal heartbeat or blood pressure.
The good news is that the NINHS says that 70 percent of people with GBS make a full recovery, and that effective probability might be even higher given that Frederick says his case was caught early. However, recovery can reportedly take an extensive amount of time, and trying to play football at the highest level is obviously a significant complicating factor in Frederick’s case.
Travis Frederick is one of the best centers in the NFL
The Cowboys’ offensive renaissance over the past few years is often attributed to its commitment to putting significant resources into its offensive line, both financially and through draft capital. Frederick is exemplary of both of those methods.
The Cowboys drafted the Wisconsin product 31st overall in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. While that pick raised some eyebrows at the time, Frederick has since rewarded the Cowboys with some of the best center play in the NFL. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler and a 2016 All-Pro.
Frederick was widely seen as a mauling run-blocker at the time of the draft, but he’s also developed as a pass protector to the point that he has gone years at a time without allowing a sack. The Cowboys rewarded that play in 2016 with a six-year, $56.4 million contract extension, making him the NFL’s highest paid center at the time.
Losing a lineman like that, particularly the shot-caller of a position group that is so important to their success, would be brutal news for the Cowboys, but’s what more important is making sure Frederick is able to make a full recovery.
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