J.J. Lollar signed with Texas Tech in February and doesn't plan on letting anything stop him from joining the Red Raiders next fall, even an eye disorder.
Lollar, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive tackle from College Station, Texas, had to end his powerlifting season after developing the eye condition.
After making a high jump during a workout last month, Lollar suffered blurred vision in his right eye. The condition worsened the next day, starting the highly regarded defensive lineman on a course of treatment that so far has included five doctors and produced two possible diagnosis: retinal vasculitis or Eales disease. Both disorders involve inflammation and possible blockage of blood vessels in the retina.
"Basically my blood vessels in my eye are leaking blood into my retina, causing me not to be able to see," said Lollar, who recently changed his last name from Bynum to honor his mother.
Lollar said his vision in his left eye is 20/20. His right eye fluctuates from 20/350 to 20/80.
Lollar gets a variety of treatments three times a week in Houston.
The eye condition is putting his 2012 season in doubt, but Texas Tech is standing behind its future team member.
"We're sticking behind him all the way. No matter what happens, we want him to come to Texas Tech. We're going to think the best, not the worst," coach Tommy Tuberville said.
The worst-case scenario for Lollar is losing vision in his eye, but even that won't keep him off the field.
"You can always play football with one eye. That won't stop me from playing," he told the paper.
It's a crazy story. Check out the Eagle for more on Lollar's unfortunate journey.
It's almost impossible to tell a kid like Lollar no, but if he were my son, I'd have a hard time allowing him to put his vision at risk to play college football.
He seems determined, though, and it's hard to see him giving it up. Big props to Texas Tech for honoring his scholarship, regardless. If for some reason Lollar changes his mind, I'd expect him to stay around the team in some capacity.
What do you think? Is Lollar making the right call?