New York Giants running back David Wilson gave a tearful goodbye speech to the NFL Wednesday, after team doctors advised him to never play football again due to a lingering neck injury.
Wilson, a 2012 first-round pick, suffered a season-ending injury in week five of the 2013 season, which, CBS Sports reports, ultimately required spinal fusion surgery in January. After months of rehab, the 23-year-old took the field for training camp in July, only to suffer another neck injury.
After the second incident, team doctors advised the player to end his career, which had been a lifelong dream of his.
"At a young age, I had a dream to play in the NFL,” Wilson told reporters in an emotional conference Wednesday. “I did that, I played in the NFL. ... So at no point should anybody feel like this is over, because in life everything has obstacles. We all go through our own obstacles every day. The main thing is, when you’re going through those obstacles, to stay focused and embrace faith and keep your dreams. Even if one dream seems to fade away, set another goal and set another dream and try to reach that.”
A report from the Giants described Wilson, though tearful, as "thankful, determined and relentlessly upbeat."
"I continue living,” Wilson added. “When life knocks you down, I always say plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up. But if you’re flat on your face, that can kill your spirit. Always think of it in that aspect -- if you can look up, you can get up.”
The player told The New Jersey Star-Ledger his tears were "tears of joy," and that the raw emotions stemmed from the finality of it all. "Don't for a second ... think I'm pitying myself or sad," Wilson said. "I got to live my dream. I'll set another dream and be great at that. I always look to be great at whatever I do."WATCH the entire speech, below: