Linebacker Patrick Larimore, voted a team captain in 2011 and undoubtedly the heart and soul of the defense, medically retired and left UCLA camp after Sunday night’s practice, according to sources.
Larimore, a 6-foot-2 redshirt senior out of Santa Clarita’s Hart HS, last week sufferedhis second concussion in a span of six months. He suffered his last concussion at the tail-end of spring camp. Initially during fall camp it was believed that Larimore was experiencing heat exhaustion but soon it was revealed that it was actually worse.
There was no indication given as to how soon Larimore would return to practice, but with a concussion it was assumed the team, trainers and doctors would take extra precaution given the proximity of the concussions, but nobody expected this bomb shell. According to sources, players were informed of the news during a team meeting and soon after went looking for Larimore to offer consolation. The heartbreaking news comes on the heels of offensive lineman Chris Ward announcing last week he would medically retire.
Losing a player of Larimore’s caliber is a huge blow to UCLA, which also lost DE Sam Tai for the season after tearing his ACL. But it was Larimore who anchored the defense and was an unquestioned leader and respected by players, coaches and media alike. Larimore started all 13 games last year and was named the team’s defensive player of the year after leading the team with 81 tackles.Redshirt junior Todd Golper is listed behind Larimore in the post-spring depth chart. Golper, who was Rick Neuheisel’s first commitment out of Arcadia HS in 2008, has battled his own set of injuries as well but saw productive time last year on special teams, making his first appearance at linebacker against Illinois.
UCLA coach Jim Mora has taken extra precaution when it comes to head injuries and anything heat related during fall camp as evidence by pulling linemen Jeff Baca, Alberto Cid and Greg Capella despite putting a strain on an already depleted line. Baca and Cid underwent concussion tests last week at UCLA and are slowly working their way back onto the field after returning to Cal State San Bernardino.
We’ll have more on this later today and have reaction from players and Mora after the morning session.