FSU honors offer to Richy Klepal
In a moment, Richy Klepal's football career was finished.
During what proved to be his final high school game against local rival Tampa Jesuit High School earlier this month, Klepal, a four-star Florida State commitment out of Tampa (Fla.) Plant, suffered the fifth concussion of his career. At that point, it was time to see if it was sheer bad luck or if there was something more.
There wasn't really a choice or a decision. My doctor was telling me, unless I want to take a risk of dying, it would be in my best interest (to quit). I love football more than anything, but my mental health is a little more important.” -- Richy Klepal
And while his football days are now behind him, the news he got was for the better.
"I got my fifth concussion about two, two and a half weeks ago, and when I got it, I got an MRI and it showed that I have a hemorrhage in my brain," said Klepal, an offensive lineman and the No. 221-ranked player in the ESPN 300.
"It is something that if it ever -- if I ever get a major impact again in any way, I could immediately die. Any kind of concussion or head trauma or anything, that could be it."
Klepal's playing days were finished.
"There wasn't really a choice or a decision," he said. "My doctor was telling me, unless I want to take a risk of dying, it would be in my best interest (to quit). I love football more than anything, but my mental health is a little more important.
Concussions in Sports
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"It was definitely a wake-up call. To be honest, I was blessed that I went to get the MRI. The MRI was an optional thing. I just thought that since I had five (concussions), it would be a good time to get it. If I hadn't gotten it, it could have been a month, and I could have passed my impact test and been back out there. God forbid, if something could have happened, I could have been out there laying on the field dead."
Fortunately, Klepal is in good health and has a spot reserved for higher education.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher called Plant coach Robert Weiner to let him know that Klepal still has a scholarship.
Obviously, that brought about huge relief and a sense of happiness in an otherwise disheartening situation for Klepal.
"I just got a call from coach Weiner from coach Fisher that they are going to honor my scholarship, which is a huge weight off my shoulders," Klepal said. "That makes me happy."
Klepal says he will meet with Seminoles coaches on Monday to discuss the logistics of the situation in Tallahassee with his family.
"I am just more than grateful," he said.
"But the biggest thing was not being able to go out there and fight with my brothers that have been with me for the last three years. For my last game being the Jesuit game, the fact that I am not going to be able to go out there and win another state championship and be a part of the senior season, was definitely the hardest part. The scholarship, of course, came second."
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