Penn State lineman Elijah Robinson, a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden and a potential starter on the offense this fall, has decided to end his career as a result of a neck injury suffered in spring practice.
Team physicians said Robinson was born with a tight spinal canal. As a result, impact to his head could pinch the spinal cord, resulting in temporary or permanent paralysis, according to Wayne Sebastianelli, Penn State's director of athletic medicine.
"This is a big loss for the team," coach Joe Paterno said yesterday. "Elijah did very well in our winter conditioning and had been working hard to improve. He had an opportunity to be a big contributor this season. I'm disappointed for him in regards to his football career, but you can't take any chances with his future."
An academic senior with junior football eligibility, the 6-foot-2, 290-pounder was competing for a starting position at guard. He spent most of his Penn State career at defensive tackle but was shifted to the offensive line last season. He took a redshirt season in 2005 after playing in three games, recording one tackle, as a true freshman in 2004.
Robinson enrolled at Penn State in January 2004 after receiving all-state honors at Woodrow Wilson, which was 15-0 his junior year.
He is majoring in crime, law and justice, and is on schedule to graduate in August.