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
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
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
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