Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick announced on Twitter that he has been suffering from Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is an autoimmune disease. If you’re unfamiliar with the condition, it’s a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. Guillain-Barré syndrome can range from a very mild case with brief weakness to nearly devastating paralysis, leaving the person unable to breathe independently. Fortunately, most people eventually recover from even the most severe cases. Even after recovery, however, some people will still continue to have some degree of weakness. What’s interesting about the condition is that it can affect anyone and it can happen at any age.
Frederick was diagnosed with the disease after exhaustive tests were conducted over the past few days. He has started to receive treatments for the condition, but as indicated above, it’s unclear when he will be able to return. Frederick made the following statement:
“I am feeling much better from an overall strength perspective. I will continue these treatments over the next few days. I am very optimistic about my condition and the immediate future, as I have been told that the illness was detected at a fairly early stage.”
But according to doctors, there is no timeline for his return. It’s possible for him to miss multiple weeks of the season. Frederick is hopeful that he’ll be able to play again soon, as he hasn’t missed a game in the first five years of his career, and he’s been named to the Pro Bowl for the past four seasons as well. Frederick saw a specialist in California while the Cowboys were still in training camp there because of feelings he said were similar to stingers in his neck and shoulders. When he returned to camp, he told reporters he checked out OK. He was on the sideline for the preseason game against Cincinnati on Saturday.
What does this mean for the team? Joe Looney has been working at center in Frederick’s absence, but the Cowboys have always considered Zack Martin a possibility there. That said, Martin will miss the rest of the preseason after hyperextending his left knee against the Bengals. Dallas is banking on a healthy offensive line in front of the 2016 NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys are hopeful that quarterback Dak Prescott and an unproven group of receivers can feed off a powerful running game. That, however, remains to be seen.
Here is Frederick’s full statement that he posted on Twitter:
“After a very extensive examination and discovery process over the past few weeks, I have been diagnosed with having Guillain Barre Syndrome which is an autoimmune disease. In the last 48 hours, I have received two treatments that address my condition, and I am feeling much better from an overall strength perspective. I will continue these treatments over the next few days. I am very optimistic about my condition and the immediate future, as I have been told that the illness was detected at a fairly early stage. My doctors have told me that it is not possible to determine a time table for a return to the field right now, but I am hopeful be able to play as soon as possible.
I am deeply grateful for all of the people who have expressed concern for me throughout hte past four weeks, and my teammates and the Cowboys organizaiton have provided me and my family with tremendous support”.