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Wild finish turns against Penn State in 36-35 OT loss at Indiana
Rudel: Concussions end Hoenstine’s career
NEIL RUDEL'S COMMENTARY
AUG 31, 2019
For as many walk-ons who venture into the upper levels of college football with stars in their eyes, hoping to someday make a contribution on the grandest of stages, just as many see their careers end on terms other than theirs.
Such is the plight of Alex Hoenstine.
The former Central High School all-state standout and 2017 Mirror athlete of the year went to Penn State as a preferred walk-on, but his playing career is apparently finished due to a series of concussions.
“I was really looking forward to this season, but unfortunately things didn’t work out,” Hoenstine said earlier this week as the Nittany Lions prepared for today’s season opener with Idaho.
During winter workouts, Hoenstine envisioned himself as a potential contributor, on special teams or maybe as a backup receiver.
But after he was concussed in a drill three practices into the spring, those plans changed. He missed the remainder of the spring and couldn’t play in the Blue-White Game.
Worse, the headaches caused him to miss several weeks of classes as he had difficulty concentrating.
“I was just running the ball and lowered my head and ran into a defensive lineman and got my bell rung,” Hoenstine said. “I didn’t feel right after that. It was hard for me to get back in the swing of things.”
He spent most of the summer at home, debating his football future and awaiting medical clearance that never came.
Doctors factored in the “eight to 10” concussions Hoenstine said he’s suffered dating back to high school.
“Since having this last concussion and how serious it was, I’ve learned so much about it and how serious they are,” Hoenstine said. “I’ve learned every one you have it takes longer to recover from.”
Hoenstine’s family concurred.
“He’s had a few head injuries in high school,” Alex’s father, Dave, said. “He suffered a couple up there. It took him a while this time, longer than the other times, and they recommended him not playing, at least this year.”