Akron DB Zach Guiser retires after blow to head knocked him unconscious

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – SEPTEMBER 02: Zach Guiser #32 of the Akron Zips celebrates a interception in the end zone during the first quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions on September 2, 2017 at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

One of Akron’s best players is retiring because of concussions.

Zach Guiser, a senior safety, announced Tuesday that the head injury he sustained earlier in this season has caused him to step away from the game. In a message posted on social media — and reposted on Akron’s football website — Guiser revealed that the career-ending play against Iowa State actually knocked him completely unconscious.

“As many of you know, earlier this season I took a blow to the head that left me unconscious on the field. After praying and deliberating with my fiancé, family, coaches, and teammates, I have decided it is in my best interest to end my football career. I wanted to post this as a thank you to everyone who has reached out to me in the recent weeks and throughout my playing days. Your support has meant more than you know and I am extremely appreciative of that,” Guiser wrote.

“Giving up on my childhood dream is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, but I find peace knowing that God has a bigger plan. I still love football and will do everything I can to help my teammates for the rest of the season. I’m looking forward to attacking the next chapter of my life with the same amount of passion and energy that I put into the last 16 years of football, but for now my team still has big goals to accomplish and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Guiser, a fifth-year senior, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review he was injured when his head “slammed into a teammate’s leg.” It was the third known concussion of his playing career.

“I don’t remember anything about the drive or anything about the play,” Guiser told the paper.

Guiser was one of three team captains for the Zips and was a first-team Academic All-American selection in 2016 and a three-time Academic All-MAC selection. Per Akron, Guiser posted a perfect 4.0 grade-point average eight times and has a 3.99 overall GPA in Akron’s Honors College. With his football career over, Guiser “intends to pursue a master’s degree in physical therapy,” Akron said.

Guiser also excelled on the field, starting 23 career games and finishing his career with 131 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 12 passes defended, four interceptions and one sack.

Guiser is the second senior captain for Akron to suffer a season-ending injury. A knee injury will sideline running back Warren Ball, an Ohio State transfer. Ball had 332 yards and four touchdowns through five games for the Zips.

Akron, 2-3 on the year after beating Bowling Green 34-23 over the weekend, hosts Ball State on Saturday.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!