Defensive tackle Jordan Kohout, a junior from Waupun, has been forced to stop playing football due to issues related to migraine headaches, the University of Wisconsin athletic department announced Friday on its website.
Kohout suffered two small strokes linked to the migraines he experienced during spring practices.
"You don't really think of 21-year-old athletes having strokes," Kohout told the website. "But I'm glad that we caught it early and I can still do a lot of the things that I love to do.
"As much as I love football, life has a lot of other things to offer as well."
Kohout started seven games in 2010 and was a regular part of the rotation at defensive tackle last season. He played in all 14 games in 2011 and tied for 17th on the defense with 22 tackles, including eight solos. He also had 2½ tackles for loss, one quarterback hurry and recovered a fumble.
The starting defensive tackles coming out of spring were junior Ethan Hemer, who received a scholarship in January, and junior Beau Allen, who had one of the best springs of any of the defensive linemen, according to the coaches.
Also helping the depth at the position was the development of sophomore Warren Herring, who moved from defensive end. Sophomore Bryce Gilbert is now the fourth tackle.
"Beau Allen's explosiveness has been fun to start to see emerge," defensive line coach Charlie Partridge said in the spring. "A couple little things he's got to fix, very specific to blocking schemes.
"Hemer has played well. The guy, God bless him, he just keeps playing. If there's anything he struggles with, he works his tail off until he gets it fixed.
"Jordan Kohout was doing really well, had a little health setback, took him out of the scrimmage, but he's right back in. Then, obviously, the emergence of Warren Herring is very, very exciting."
Kohout started having problems after the players returned to practice following spring break. He described the migraines as "streaks of light followed by pain."
"It starts with a light flash, light streaks; migraine sufferers call it an aura," Kohout told the website. "Tunnel vision would kind of form and it was followed by pretty intense pain; sometimes vertigo, too.
"I'd have them every time I had contact in practice … I woke up one day with streaks of light and I had them the whole day. It was pretty awful."
After seeing specialists and having an MRI, it was determined Kohout had suffered small strokes.
"The doctors and I came to the conclusion that maybe it's not really worth putting my life at risk," he said.
Kohout will take a medical redshirt and will help out with the team this season.
"I've reconciled everything," he told the website. "A big part of it is knowing that I'll be around the program — and because of my love of exercising — I'll still have weight training and my fitness."