Artz To Miss Final Season On Field, But Will Remain As Student Coach

July 7, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, News 
Shaun Artz (73) and Melvin Meggs (77) practice run blocking during the preseason camp in 2012. Artz will forgo his final year of eligibility due to health issues.

Shaun Artz (73) and Melvin Meggs (77) practice run blocking during the preseason camp in 2012. Artz will forgo his final year of eligibility due to health issues but remain with the team as a student assistant coach.

The South Alabama football team will be without one of their returning offensive linemen this fall. Fifth year senior Shaun Artz decided that, for his own health, he would forgo his final season in a Jaguar uniform and will instead be a student assistant coach working with offensive coordinator Robert Matthews and offensive line coach Chase Smith.

Artz suffered from a series of injuries which included hernia, back pain and nerve issues which began in the spring of the 2012 season when he experienced pull in his back while lifting weights. He played the season after receiving treatment and would only miss one game that season. After the season and returning from Hawaii he had surgery on his back.

Artz played every game last season and went through the season working through issues from time to time. Late in the season he took “a pretty good hit” but finished the season. During spring practice he noticed that while running sprints he was limping and dragging his left leg behind him. He would go under the knife again to try to correct a disc problem he was experiencing.

The surgery went well, but the healing time of 3-4 weeks turned into six, then eight and there wasn’t any relief.

He was still having pain and the disc that had been operated on was herniated again. After talking with his doctor about how continuing to play may open the risk to further injury. After weighing the risks, he talked with his family and the coaches and made the obvious decision after he was able to take the emotion out of it.

But he will continue to help his team, though he will not be in pads on the field, but rather on the sidelines doing whatever the coaches need him to do.

“So now I’m in a position where I can help the team and I’ll be on the field,” Artz told AL.com. “I’ll be like a student coach. I’ll help the offense, help coach Smith and coach Matthews, and help out the guys I came in with as a freshman. These guys are like brothers to me and mean a lot to me, and that’s why I want to stick around and be a part of it.”

Coach Jones is happy that Shaun will remain with the team and made the best decision for his health and future. “He has done nothing but do great things for us,” Jones told AL.com. “He’s going to be around this fall helping out the coaching staff and doing some things. You never want to lose somebody who has been in that many wars and who is a very competitive guy, so it’s a big loss for us.”

Artz said that it’s becoming easier as time goes by. He has been playing football since six years old. He had played every year at USA and started the last two seasons. While Artz has been in the war on the field at Tennessee and ULL and he feels that, if nothing else, he will be able to bridge the communication between the players in those situations and the coaches. He just wants to help. He doen’t care if it’s holding cards or on a headset, he just wants to be there for his teammates in the trenches.

Artz benefited from the program being unclassified when he began playing at South Alabama. He was eligible to play all five seasons with his first being considered a redshirt season but still being able to play. In what he considers his senior season now, Artz helped the Jaguars to a 6-6 record overall and a 4-3 record in conference play to finish third in the Sun Belt. They finished the season with a three-game winning streak including a season finale win over Sun Belt Conference Co-Champion Lousiana-Lafayette 30-8. Though they were bowl eligible, they were not extended a bowl invitation.

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