When the Dallas Cowboys take the field in Carolina on Sunday, Center Travis Frederick will still be a very big part of the team. Although he won’t be starting a game for the first time since being drafted in 2013 (a run of 5,210 incredible consecutive snaps), Frederick’s situation is much different from the offensive line injuries that did the Cowboys in a year ago. His Guillain-Barre syndrome is something the Cowboys can rally around, rooting for Frederick first as a person and second as their hopeful starting center again this season.
The 2017 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award took to Twitter on August 22nd to announce his diagnosis of GBS. Immediately, fans everywhere began educating themselves on what this condition means for a professional football player responsible for hitting 300+ pound defensive tackles in front of him every play.
The truth of any research into GBS is that the severity of it varies too much to paint a clear picture for Frederick, who by all indications does have an acute case that will be managed more effectively given it’s early diagnosis.
What symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome does Travis Frederick still experience? “I experienced numbness in both my feet and both my hands and it went into one of my arms. Currently, I’m still experiencing numbness in both my arms.” He calls this constant.
Frederick is on the Cowboys active roster, meaning each week is an opportunity for him to rejoin his starters on the offensive line. More importantly at the moment though, it’s an opportunity for Frederick to heal, knowing he will return to full strength in time.
“Even if I can’t be out there physically, I hope that mentally and emotionally I can be a rock for them,” said Frederick. The Cowboys spirits can be lifted on Frederick thanks also to his replacement Joe Looney, who performed admirably this preseason.
Looney is a veteran that the Cowboys felt good enough about to re-sign for 2018, his seventh in the league and second with Dallas. With the guidance of Frederick, Looney can be more than just a serviceable center for this team.
It certainly helps that Looney will have the best guard in football to his right, as rookie Connor Williams continues to adjust to a new position at left guard.
The Cowboys don’t know when Travis Frederick will be able to play football again, but they do know when they’ll be playing for the second year in a row with injuries on the offensive line. Thanks to Frederick’s character and leadership ability, the team is in no position to use these injuries as an excuse again.
Frederick himself, diagnosed with GBS capable of causing paralysis, is certainly not making excuses as he does everything in his power to rehab for a shortened 2018 season.