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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 11, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Porter looks to post-football future, calls himself lucky to have gotten the chance he had

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I was able to talk for a while today with a now former member of the UW football team, Colin Porter, a starting guard the last two years who it was announced earlier this week has had to give up the sport due to degenerative arthritis in each shoulder.

And while he says he wishes he’d have been able to play the final two years of his UW career, he also knows what the odds are of any football players making it as far as he did.

“I consider myself lucky to even get the chance to play Division-I football, let alone be able to start and be a contributor and a contributor to team success,” he said. “Not everyone gets two years, or even gets any chance to do that. So I consider myself lucky. My career was stopped short of the four years it would have been, but not everyone gets the chance that I got and I’m thankful for that.”

Porter started 19 games the last two years, including all 13 last season, and figured to be a rare player to essentially start all four seasons on the Husky offensive line.

He thought the constant injury issues in each shoulder would be solved by off-season surgery. Instead, the surgeries revealed ailments that weren’t going to go away, and his doctor told him he had to give up the sport.

“I’m 20 years old with these problems and I’ve got a lot of life ahead of me and with these problems already, it could be a hard road ahead of me with my shoulders as is and if I kept playing it would be even worse,” he said.

Porter said he suffered his first shoulder injury in ninth grade. Eventually, his shoulders grew unstable enough that they would subluxate, or pop partially out, with frustrating regularity.

He said the worst it got was the Arizona game at home last season, when his shoulder popped out five times.

“It’s pretty painful,” he said. “It would happen even during warmups. It just wasn’t very stable. Beginning of season it was my right shoulder, then it was my left. It would just go back and forth.”

Porter had never had surgery on either shoulder, however, until after the 2011 season. He said he managed to always play through the pain in the past and wanted to avoid surgery. In retrospect, he said that probably didn’t help.

“I had never had a surgery and that’s probably why they got so bad,” he said. “I never repaired them and I was always able to play with them and able to play with the pain. But it got to a point this year that I needed to get them done, and I didn’t know it would be that bad. (He thought) it would just be a little repaired labrum on each shoulder. But it turned out to be a lot, lot worse.

“(His doctor) opened the left shoulder up back in January and said it was really messed up and it was a lot worse than he thought it was going to be. Initially it was going to be just a cleanup and fix the labrum and then he found Arthiritis in there. And then the right shoulder was just as bad and said that it wouldn’t be healthy to keep going and he just made the call.”

Some who watched Porter considered him an NFL prospect.

Porter, though, says that was never really on the front of his mind.

“The NFL would have been nice but it wasn’t my primary goal, it wasn’t really my dream to do,” he said. “I wanted to go into the military after college. If I got drafted (by the NFL) that would have been great but my primary plan was go to into the military. I don’t know if that’s out of the question now with my shoulders — we’ll see as I progress. I still want to do that.”

Indeed, his plan now is to focus on those goals. He met with UW coaches this week to finalize the process of getting a medical scholarship to remain in school. He’s majoring in
Political Science and International Security and said he should be able to finish on schedule, if not a quarter or two ahead of that, due in part to having taken summer school the last two y ears.

“My initial goal was I wanted to do Army Rangers or Green Berets or something like that but I don’t know if special forces is in the picture now, if they will take someone with pre-existing conditions like mine, something that you need to use all the time,” he said. “But I will explore the other things I can do in the military. I wanted to get into intelligence or something and maybe I can work intelligence in some capacity. I want to do FBI or CIA, some sort of counterterrorism work for a career, that’s my goal for a career. Kind of working towards that.”

He says won’t he won’t do is completely disappear from the football program. Some players who are forced to give up the sport before they planned find it difficult to stay close with the team. But Porter says “I’m going to stay around as much as I can. Some of my best friends are on that team and especially on the O-line — it’s a family within a team and you build that kind of camaraderie. It’s hard to just stay away from that. So I will definitely be around and watch them, and I want to help them as much as I can because it’s a young O-line and I want to help them as much as I can getting them ready to go.”

His injuries and premature retirement from the sport, he knows, are being viewed as a big blow to a UW offensive line that already had the question mark of how to replace graduated left tackle Senio Kelemete and the uncertainty of when guard Colin Tanigawa will be able to return from an ACL injury suffered last year at Oregon State.

But in keeping with the attitude about his post-football future, Porter says he’s confident it’ll all work out.

“It didn’t go as planned, but sometimes stuff happens and you’ve got to deal with adversity,” he said. “But I think they will do well. They are a bunch of tough guys in there, playing on the O-line you have to be able to deal with adversity and work together and I think they will succeed.”

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