MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Matt Lindamood missed part of a West Virginia football win against Norfolk State with an injury to his right ankle, then stayed home a week later when the Mountaineers moved to 3-0 with a victory at Maryland.
Everything lined up for the junior fullback from Parkersburg to return to the lineup a week later at home in a prime-time national telecast against LSU.
"I was ready to go, man," Lindamood said. "I was excited."
The scorebook from the 47-21 loss to the Tigers on Sept. 24 mentions 65 pass plays, 22 runs and six punts, all things Lindamood has helped with in his WVU career.
That same scorebook never mentions Lindamood.
The day before, Lindamood met with the team's head trainer and told Dave Kerns his career was over.
"The information Matt came to us with was, 'I'm not supposed to play football anymore,' " Kerns said.
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LINDAMOOD HAS what he calls a "messed up neck."
He remembers it first gave him problems in high school, where he played linebacker and running back in 40 games his final three years at Parkersburg High and where he wrestled and won a state championship at 215 pounds as a senior.
"It was never like this," he said.
Today, Lindamood experiences stingers and burners when he gets hit a particular way. He said his right arm tingles or goes numb, depending on the severity of the contact.
Sometimes he can shake it out and miss a play or a series.
Other times it can be worse. Whatever the outcome, he could play with that malfunction in the network of nerves known as the brachial plexus that controls the hand, wrist, arm and shoulder.
"If you equate it to rivers and tributaries, you have the main trunk that comes off and splits into smaller rivers and those split off and so on," Kerns said. "It's the same thing with the spinal nerves. The big trunk is the spinal cord and it splits off into different nerve groups."
The first time Lindamood was really bothered by it came last year in a home win against Maryland. Kerns said WVU has a standard procedure calling for any player who has a pattern of stingers and burners to undergo X-rays to make sure there are no stability issues.
Lindamood did all of that and was found to be in no real danger.
Lindamood was having trouble when his head went too far back and caused a compression that pressured the brachial plexus and caused the stingers and burners. Kerns said the remedy was a mechanical block.
"We wanted to control excessive neck motion, so we gave him a neck roll and a back plate to prevent that excessive motion where his head would go too far back," Kerns said.
"The second thing we did was neck strengthening to the front part of the neck and two other muscles, one on the right and one on the left, again to control excessive motion."
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IT ALL SEEMED like it was working for Lindamood. He had episodes off and on the rest of the 2010 season, but nothing serious.
"Spring ball, three weeks it didn't bother me one bit," he said. "I thought I was over it. The last two weeks of spring ball, it started hurting me again. Fall camp, sure enough, it starts creeping back."
Lindamood was held out of practice late in camp and Coach Dana Holgorsen said Lindamood was "beat up," which seemed sensible enough given the player's position.