Badgers lose 2003 leading rusher with heart ailment

Madison, WI (Sports Network) - The University of Wisconsin has announced that Dwayne Smith, the Badgers' leading rusher a year ago, has a heart ailment that will end his football playing days.

Smith's condition is known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It was discovered during a preseason physical exam earlier this month, head coach and director of athletics Barry Alvarez announced Thursday.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disorder of the heart muscle that is characterized by enlargement of the heart muscle and a thickening of the walls of the left ventricle.

Smith’s condition was originally diagnosed by cardiologists at UW Hospital and Clinics. A follow-up diagnosis by Dr. Barry Maron of the Minneapolis Heart Institute confirmed Smith’s condition.

"Our entire football program feels for Dwayne and will support and help him as much as possible," Alvarez said. "This is difficult news to handle, but I know Dwayne and his family will persevere through this. The silver lining is that Dwayne’s condition was discovered now and can be treated appropriately."

The 20-year-old Smith, a Chicago native, participated in the Badgers' first practice this month, but has not taken part since then. An honorable mention All-Big Ten selection a year ago, Smith finishes his two-year career at Wisconsin with 1,409 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns on 275 carries. He played in 26 games, including six starts.

Smith was recently embroiled in controversy, as he pleaded not guilty in May to second-degree sexual assault. Earlier this month his attorney filed two motions seeking to dismiss the charge.

Smith and an acquaintance, Anwar Jones, were arrested in February after a Madison woman said she was assaulted in a downtown apartment.

The tailback was initially suspended for all spring practices, under the school's student-athlete discipline policy. After an appeal his suspension was dropped to five practices.

By The Source
Aug 27, 2004
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