Neck injury causes Virginia Tech's Michael Cole to retire

Cole was injured Nov. 8 against Florida State. (Getty Images)

Virginia Tech safety Michael Cole's football career has come to an end at a very early age. The school announced on Thursday that, due to safety concerns, Cole would no longer play football following his redshirt freshman season.

Cole suffered a neck sprain on Nov. 8 in a game against Florida State. Medical personnel attended to Cole on the field, immobilized him and then took him off in an ambulance. While Cole was not paralyzed, doctors feel the risk of further damage to Cole's neck or spine is too great for him to keep playing.

“I would just like to thank Coach Beamer, Coach Stinespring -- who recruited me -- and all of the coaches in making my dreams come true,” Cole said in a release. “It truly has been an honor and a blessing to be led by such a highly respected group of people. I would also like to thank my friends and family back home and the entire Hokie Nation, which has supported me throughout my career. It pains me that I will never be able to put the pads on again for this prestigious program and university, but in spite of all this, I will forever be a Hokie.”

Cole played in 10 games in 2012, finishing the season with 43 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Per NCAA rules, Cole will be allowed to remain on scholarship while finishing his education at Virginia Tech and won't count against the school's 85-scholarship limit.

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CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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