Injuries End Meads' Playing Career

Injuries not only caused Meads to miss 12 games last season but also forced the former McDonald's All-American to cut short his career. He plans to finish his undergraduate degree at BYU before pursuing a post-graduate education. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- Because of the ongoing recovery process from his injuries, BYU junior Garner Meads is unable to continue playing basketball. The 6-foot-8 forward met with his teammates Thursday to let them know his basketball career is over.

Meads completed three injury-plagued seasons with the Cougars, including a redshirt year, since coming to BYU as a McDonald's All-American out of Brighton High School in 2000. Meads, who appeared in 47 games with 27 starts as a redshirt freshman and sophomore, missed 12 games due to injury this past season and was never fully healthy during his entire college career.

"I really feel for Garner and his family. I know how difficult of a decision this is for him," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "Garner still has a strong desire to play but he also has to look out for his long-term health.

"I will always be grateful to Garner for what he has done for the BYU basketball program. I look forward to our continued relationship as he completes his education at BYU. He has expressed a desire to stay close to our program."

Meads has excelled academically with a 3.81 GPA studying exercise science on the pre med track with a business minor. An Academic All-Mountain West Conference recipient and Cougar Club Scholar Athlete, Meads plans to finish his undergraduate degree at BYU before pursuing a post-graduate education. He is engaged to be married this summer.

Meads provided the following statement to announce his decision and explain his feelings about having to end his playing career:

"I will no longer be playing for the BYU men's basketball team.

"I have made the decision to discontinue my playing career at BYU, and I notified members of the team Thursday.

"The decision was made in a meeting with Coach Rose, my parents Garner and LeeAnn Meads, and my fiancýe Julie Cameron.

"All parties involved felt that the decision made was best for both the program and myself.

"This is a critical time for BYU's basketball program. The players are working extremely hard and making a lot of progress. There is a great sense of urgency within the program to bring it back to the level it has been at in the past. My current physical condition needs additional time to recover and at this point in my eligibility, there is not sufficient time.

"Over the past two years I have suffered several injuries that have prohibited me from playing at the desired level. These injuries have resulted in significant pain and frustration.

"That frustration has been felt not only by myself but also by my family, my coaches, my teammates, and undoubtedly the fans.

"These secondary injuries occurred as by-products of a primary injury suffered shortly after returning home from missionary service for the LDS Church in Canada in the spring of 2003.

"At that time, I developed bi-lateral tears in the lower abdominal muscles at the point of insertion to the bone. These tears went undetected for nearly 13 months during which time I continued to play despite, at times severe pain. Throughout my freshman season everyone, including myself, thought I was experiencing muscle strains and I was treated symptomatically with steroid injections as well as anti-inflammatory medication. Following the 2003-2004 season the late Dr. Matt Roush determined that there were actual muscle tears, not just muscle strains and indicated that surgery would be necessary to repair the damage that had taken place.

"The surgery was performed in June of 2004. Due to the severity of the tears and uncommon nature of my injury, Dr. William Meyers, who specializes in cases such as mine, performed the operation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The surgery was rather extensive and revealed that the tears were worse than expected.

"As a result, I spent the majority of the off-season working through the tedious process of recovery and rehabilitation instead of increasing my strength and improving my skills. Complications arose during the rehabilitation period, and as a result I had not fully recovered when the 2004-2005 season began. Consequently, I suffered other substantial injuries, including a stress fracture in my left foot and a torn right quadriceps muscle. Following the completion of last season I began the rehabilitative process again, however the progress has been slower than was hoped for. After consulting with family, coaches and doctors it was decided that if proper time and care was not given to ensure full recovery, I was putting myself at risk of permanent damage.

"My decision to discontinue playing is in no way a result of the current coaching changes that have taken place. BYU has been, and I am confident always will be, a great place to play the game of basketball.

"If anything the current changes have only made it harder for me to come to this decision in that there is a renewed excitement and energy within the program among coaches and players that undoubtedly will bring success to BYU basketball.

"I offer my sincere apology to those who had hoped my career at BYU would result in something other than what it has. I would also like to thank my family, friends, teammates, coaches, and the fans who have supported me throughout my time as a player on the BYU Men's Basketball Team.

"I offer my best wishes to next year's coaches and team.

"GO COUGS!" said Meads.