TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Wyatt Sexton, the Florida State
quarterback who was found disheveled and disoriented on a city
street last month, has been diagnosed with Lyme disease and will
miss the upcoming season, the university reported Saturday.
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said the university would seek
a sixth year of eligibility for Sexton, who has already used his
redshirt season. He is the Seminoles' only experienced quarterback.
"It looks like Wyatt will need several months of treatment and
will have to miss the season," Bowden said in a statement.
A specialist in the field of Lyme disease, Dr. S. Chandra Swami
from Hermitage, Pa., said Sexton's organs have been infected and
recommended intensive antibiotic therapy over a period of months.
"Wyatt has active Lyme Disease that has resulted in
neuropsychiatric and cardiovascular deficits," Dr. Swami said.
The disease is curable, but the estimated recovery time for his
advanced stage of infection is several months. If untreated, the
disease can cause joint swelling and brain inflammation.
"We expect him to fully recover," Sexton's parents, Billy and
Joy, said in a statement in the school's release. Billy Sexton is
the running backs coach for the Seminoles.
The Seminoles will now choose between a pair of redshirt
freshmen, Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee, as the starting
quarterback for their nationally televised season opener Sept. 5
against Miami. The team begins its preseason practice Aug. 9.
"It may come down to flipping a coin as to who starts the
season," Bowden said.
Wyatt Sexton was the projected starter at quarterback. He played
in 10 games in 2004, completing 55.2 percent of his passes for
1,661 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had eight interceptions.
On June 14, the 20-year-old Sexton was doused by pepper spray
and taken to a hospital after he was found lying in the street and
identifying himself as God. His parents released a statement two
days later that said drug abuse was not the problem.
Lyme disease bacteria are transmitted to humans by ticks that
are carried by deer.
The disease is often identified by an expanding "bull's-eye"
rash that develops days to weeks after a tick bite. Other symptoms
include tiredness, fever, muscle aches and joint pain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said
there are an increasing number of cases that are attributed to
growing populations of deer that support deer ticks, more homes
being built in wooded areas and better recognition and reporting of
the disease, named in 1977 when a cluster was identified in Lyme,
In addition to Sexton, the Seminoles could also be without their
two linebackers, Ernie Sims and A.J. Nicholson, for the Miami game
because of recent run-ins with the law.
Florida State was 9-3 in 2004, but failed to win the Atlantic
Coast Conference title for just the second time in 13 seasons, and
wound up ranked 15th -- its fourth straight year outside the Top 10
in the final Associated Press poll.