Wyatt Sexton

Wyatt Sexton

Miami Herald

Diagnosis: Lyme disease

The Miami Herald

July 11, 2005

Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton, suspended last month after a bizarre

incident with local police, was diagnosed last week with advanced Lyme

disease and will miss the 2005 season.

FSU announced in a news release early Saturday morning that Sexton's

condition is curable and that he will try to return to school next year.

Dr. S. Chandra Swami, a specialist in Hermitage, Pa., consulted with

Sexton and his family Thursday and recommended that he not be

involved with school or the Seminoles' football team while being treated.

''Wyatt has active Lyme disease that has resulted in neuropsychiatric

and cardiovascular deficits,'' Swami said in the statement. ``I have

strongly recommended intensive therapy with a goal to obtain an

optimal state of health. This should include academics and athletics.

``He should not be stressed by these two disciplines for now.''

Sexton started seven games last season, completing 55 percent of

his passes for 1,661 yards and eight touchdowns. Now, the

Seminoles are left with only two scholarship quarterbacks --

redshirt freshmen Xavier Lee and Drew Weatherford -- and no

quarterback on the roster that has thrown a pass in college.

The announcement capped off a wild month of speculation after

the June 14 incident in which Sexton called himself ''the son of

God'' and had to be subdued with pepper spray.

Despite reports from several news outlets speculating that

the quarterback was under the influence of drugs, FSU

running backs coach Billy Sexton, Wyatt's father, issued

a statement in June that doctors had assured the family that

``drug use is not the problem.''

In Saturday's release, Sexton's parents again said their

family had been hurt by ``media reports that were simply not true.''

According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation's website,

the illness is contracted through the bite of an infected

deer tick and can lead to mental disorders if left untreated.

''Late-chronic Lyme disease really focuses on the neurological

and cardiovascular systems,'' said Dr. Penny Tenzer, vice

chair of the department of family medicine and community health

at the University of Miami School of medicine.

The national Center for Disease Control reported 23,763

cases of Lyme disease in 2002, but it is rare in Florida.

There were 79 reported incidents throughout the state

that year, and 43 the year before.

FSU's press release offered no explanation as to when

or where Sexton was infected.

''With Lyme disease, we don't know how long it takes to

move [to an advanced stage],'' Tenzer said.

``It could take weeks, months and even years. . . .

It's very unusual that Lyme disease would get to the

advanced stage . . . but obviously not impossible by any means.''

Sexton will require several months of antibiotic treatments.

But citing doctor-patient confidentiality, Swami refused

to elaborate on the details of the treatment when contacted

by telephone Saturday.

FSU hopes the NCAA will grant Sexton a medical hardship

this fall, leaving him with two years of eligibility beginning in 2006.

Wyatt Sexton will miss 2005 season

By D.c. Reeves FSView & Florida Flambeau

Tallahassee, FL (U-WIRE) -- Florida State

quarterback Wyatt Sexton has been diagnosed

with Lyme disease and will miss the entire

2005 football season, the Sexton family confirmed

through Florida State's Sports Information

Office Saturday.

Dr. Chandra Swami, a Lyme Disease specialist

in Hermitage, Pa., confirmed Thursday that

Sexton was in the "advanced stages" of the


Lyme disease is curable, but recovery will take


"Wyatt has active Lyme Disease that has

resulted in neuropsychiatric and cardiovascular

deficits," Dr. Swami told the Sports

Information office. "I have strongly recommended

intensive therapy with a goal to obtain an

optimal state of health. This should include

academics and athletics.

He should not be stressed by these two

disciplines for now."

Sexton, a Tallahassee native, was penciled in

as the starting quarterback for the

Sept. 5 season opener against the University of

Miami at the conclusion of

spring practice. But strange behavior from the

junior signal caller on

June 13 -- including referring to himself as "God"

in the middle of a street -- raised many

questions and eyebrows.

Wyatt Sexton's father and assistant head coach

Billy Sexton released a statement

two days later saying that Wyatt was "under

the care of physicians for a medical

problem" and that "drug abuse is not the


Saturday's report was the first news of the

situation since Billy Sexton's statement.

According to The American Lyme Disease

Foundation's website, "the more

severe, potentially debilitating symptoms

of later-stage Lyme disease may

occur weeks, months, or, in a few cases,

years after infection.

These can include severe headaches, painful

arthritis and swelling of joints,

cardiac abnormalities, and central nervous

system (CNS) involvement

leading to cognitive (mental) disorders."

On the field, Florida State will now turn

to a pair of highly-touted redshirt

freshmen as quarterbacks: Xavier Lee

and Drew Weatherford.

"Going into this, the only thing we did

was come up with a plan A and a plan B.

Plan A, of course, was if Wyatt was healthy

and ready to go," Bowden said.

"Plan B was what we would do if he

wasn't able to go. Obviously, now we have

to go with plan B. Xavier (Lee) and Drew

(Weatherford) will start out even

when we return to practice and we'll have

three and a half weeks to see

if one can separate himself from the other.

If not, we will go into the season

with two quarterbacks ready to go."

(C) 2004 FSView & Florida Flambeau via U-WIRE


Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton has

decided to quit football after sitting out the past season because of illness.

Sexton, committed to a psychiatric facility in June after being found

disheveled and disoriented on a Tallahassee street, said he will forgo

his final year of eligibility to concentrate on his health and his studies.

"This has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my

entire life," Sexton said in a statement. "I will focus on regaining my

health and my academic pursuit of getting an MBA."

The school released the statement Saturday night without comment

from coach Bobby Bowden or his staff. Billy Sexton, Wyatt's father,

is the longtime running backs coach.

Sexton had been suspended at the time of the bizarre June episode

for failing to take a drug test, Bowden said in July. That month,

Sexton was diagnosed with Lyme disease and pronounced out for this season.

Sexton went 5-2 as the Seminoles' starting quarterback in 2004.

In his two seasons, Sexton completed 142-of-257 passes for

1,717 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.

He had practiced with the team in the fall and during recent

Orange Bowl preparations.

Sexton would have likely entered spring practice competing for

third on the depth chart with highly recruited incoming freshman

Christian Ponder.

Rising sophomores Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee led the

Seminoles in 2005. Weatherford set an Atlantic Coast Conference

freshman record with 3,208 passing yards.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index