NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — David Wilson said from the start not to feel sorry for him.
And now we’re seeing why.
Forced to retire from the NFL earlier this month due to a serious neck injury, the former Giants running back has quickly moved on. He may not be able to take the hits that come with playing professional football anymore, but that doesn’t mean he’s intent to stop being a world class athlete.
Wilson recently told the NY Post his next goal is to make the U.S. Olympic Track and Field team and compete in the 2016 Games in Brazil in the triple jump, a sport he once dominated in high school and excelled at in college.
“That’s where I want to go,” Wilson told the newspaper on Monday. “It’s like playing football. You don’t grow up wanting to play in the Canadian League. Everyone wants to play in the NFL. That’s the mindset I have. I want to compete in the best meets. I’m excited to get back into it.”
Wilson was so good at football during his time at Virginia Tech he left school after his junior season and was taken No. 32 overall by the Giants in the 2012 draft. What many people may not know is he was a two-sport star athlete in college, earning All-American honors in track in 2011. He finished in sixth place at the NCAA Championships, jumping 53 feet, 1.74 inches.
That jump would have put him in 11th place at the 2012 Summer Games in London, so the way Wilson sees it, hardcore training over the next two years could pay off big in Brazil. He plans to start getting serious about the triple jump next week when his training begins at Virginia Tech.
The 23-year-old said he never typecast himself as any one thing in college. He just happened to get more opportunities with football.
“I never really looked at myself as a football player,” Wilson told the Post. “I looked at myself as a person that’s good at football and good at a lot of the other stuff. Having that transition is not really that hard to do. I just looked at myself as a competitor.
“When I got the news that I got, it wasn’t easy, but if you dwell on the negative, you’re not taking steps to making yourself feel better. I look (at) it as you got to take it and roll with it and don’t try to fight it because that’s kind of pointless.”
Wilson, who plans to complete his undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech while training, said he knows how lucky he is to be able to walk away from football and still have options.
“That’s the positive about it, that I’m not in any pain,” Wilson said. “I didn’t leave the game on a stretcher or in a wheelchair. I don’t need crutches or a cane to help me. I can still do what I want to do. I’m still in the mindset where I want to compete at a high level.”
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