VT safety Michael Cole gives up football

Virginia Tech safety Michael Cole has decided to give up football as the result of a neck injury suffered last season against Florida State, the school announced Thursday.

In the statement, the school said: "After consulting with doctors and the training staff at Virginia Tech, it was determined that Cole should not continue to play football due to a higher risk of further injury to his neck and spine."

Cole was injured in the third quarter of the game and lay motionless for several minutes before being carted off the field. He sustained a cervical neck sprain and subsequently underwent surgery. Head team doctor Mark Rogers said in a statement he expects Cole to make a full recovery.

Though he will no longer play football, Cole will remain a part of the team.

Under NCAA rules, Cole qualifies for a medical disqualification and will remain on scholarship, although the scholarship does not count toward the limit of 85.

Cole said in a statement: "I would just like to thank Coach [Frank] Beamer, Coach [Bryan] Stinespring -- who recruited me -- and all of the coaches in making my dreams come true. It truly has been an honor and a blessing to be led by such a highly respected group of people. I would also like to thank my friends and family back home and the entire Hokie Nation, which has supported me throughout my career. It pains me that I will never be able to put the pads on again for this prestigious program and university, but in spite of all this, I will forever be a Hokie.

Beamer said in a statement: "I am disappointed that Michael Cole will no longer be playing football at Virginia Tech. Good players with great character are hard to replace. I believe Michael has a great future no matter what road he decides to take."

Cole played in 10 games this past season as a redshirt freshman, making four starts as the nickelback.