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Illinois redshirt freshman offensive lineman Ryan Klachko will retire because of numerous concussions, coach Tim Beckman said on Tuesday.
Klachko, a Springfield, Ill., native, transferred to Illinois from Nebraska prior to the season and was sitting out this season per NCAA transfer rules. He was ranked the No. 28 offensive guard in the country by ESPN in the Class of 2011 when he committed to Nebraska.
Beckman said Klachko suffered a number of concussions during the team's preseason training and just recently.
"Due to the fact he had numerous concussions throughout two-a-days and throughout the last couple weeks, we feel it's necessary to medically redshirt him," Beckman said. "Ryan had some injuries, of course, with the head, and (we know) how important those things are now. We don't want anything to ever occur, but Ryan is going to be provided with a medical scholarship. He's still going to be involved in this football team. He's going to help coach, help be involved in the weight room, things we're going to do for any student-athlete that we have."
Beckman said it was a difficult decision for Klachko and the program.
"He wants to play, wants to be involved," Beckman said. "When you have numerous within the last couple months, numerous concussions, you have to make a decision just as you do as a father. We sat down and talked to him about it. He understands. He still wants to be involved in this football team. The Illini are very important to him. He's just going to have to do it in a way of being a student-coach instead of being a player."
Beckman hopes the program can lead to a positive future for Klachko.
"I said to him when he came in, 'If you can't play, what do you want to be involved in?' " Beckman said. "He has aspirations of being a strength-and-condition guy. So that's what we're going to utilize his time for. We're going to provide him with the opportunity so he can become a better individual in those aspects.
"If he does make that decision to be that in his future, that's what we're going to provide for him. He's still part of the team. We're still going to need him to be successful because I want as many true Illini around this football program as I can get. "