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Concussions force Navy’s Evan Fochtman into early retirement

“This is more about my long-term health,” the senior Midshipman told the Capital Gazette.

Navy v Tulane Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Evan Fochtman has played his last snap for the Naval Academy’s football team.

The senior, known for being a studious and high-energy safety, is retiring from football after suffering multiple concussions. He is no longer listed on Navy’s roster.

Fochtman last played for the Midshipmen against Air Force on Oct. 3 and has been in the concussion protocol since. He is set to graduate this May and wants to become a pilot.

“It’s definitely hardest decision I’ve had to make. This is more about my long-term health,” Fochtman told Bill Wagner of the Capital Gazette. “It would have been a dangerous decision to come back. I talked to my family and they gave me great perspective.”

According to the Capital, Fochtman has had five concussions through his high school and college football career. The one he suffered against Air Force — when he and a teammate hit helmet-to-helmet while trying to make a tackle — was his third concussion at Navy.

A graduate of Archbishop Spalding and a resident of nearby Crownsville, Maryland, Fochtman was recruited to Navy as a quarterback. Army and Penn also expressed interest in him.

Following his plebe year, he transitioned to safety and played in 10 games as a sophomore, registering 23 tackles.

Last year, under then-new defensive coordinator Brian Newberry, Fochtman became a starter and a crucial part of a vastly improved Navy defense. He had 53 tackles — which was fifth-best on the team — five pass breakups and two interceptions. Fochtman garnered First-Team All-ECAC honors and flourished at safety in Newberry’s system. Early on this season, he was beginning to look like a pro prospect.

Through three games this season, Fochtman had 15 tackles, three TFLs, one interception and one pass breakup. He also finished off the safety at Tulane, which helped spark the Mids’ comeback.