Wisconsin offensive lineman Dan Voltz publicly announced today after practice that he was retiring from football due to physical reasons.
The three-year starting center suffered a season-ending knee injury last October when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) against Illinois. Earlier this spring. Voltz announced he would transition to left guard with Michael Deiter remaining at starting center, a position he held following Voltz’s injury.
Voltz said that throughout the offseason he had no intentions of retiring.
“I was going to train all summer, give it everything I have,” he said. “My mindset all summer was that I was going to play, and the season was going to go as planned.”
Ultimately, it was the senior lineman’s overall health, not just the injury that forced him into retirement.
“Physical reasons is the main reason that forced me to start thinking about it,” he said after practice. “It’s a culmination of things I’ve been dealing with for a couple years now.”
He called his decision an selfish one in the fact that, at the age of 22, he had to think of his own physical health and well-being and what would come after football.
“You have to take a step back and say, is this the best decision for my body?” he said.
Voltz told teammates of his decision this week. As expected, it was a difficult decision for the fifth-year player.
“You earn the respect of your teammates because of how hard you work and the time you put in here, so telling them you’ll no longer be playing anymore was difficult for me.”
Head coach Paul Chryst expressed his admiration and respect for the way Voltz approached and played the game.
“Dan played a lot of really good football, and you’re always going to miss that,” Chryst said.
Voltz, however, plans to continue to play a large role off the field for his Badger teammates.
“I made it clear I’m going to remain a big part of the program,” he said. “My role is just going to shift from playing to helping out in other ways.”
Voltz said he expects his role to be similar to what it was this past spring: helping out in the weight room, being a mentor for younger players and offering his own insight in practice and in games.
“The way football is played nowadays and what defenses are running, the mental side is such a big part,” he said. “Just having an extra set of eyes at practice and games is a huge asset to the group.”
Chryst said Voltz will “bring a lot at a different capacity.” Voltz’s three years of starting and his daily preparation on and off the field assure Chryst that Voltz will still remain impactful to the team.
“You’re confident he’s going to contribute in a big way,” Chryst said.
Voltz still has three semesters to go to finish his master’s degree in kinesiology.
“Continuing my education and continuing to be a part of this program for the next two seasons is something that is super exciting for me,” Voltz said.
Chryst believes Voltz could easily transition into the strength training or coaching component of the game.
Going into the 2016 season, Chryst expects Micah Kapoi to take over as starting left guard. Deiter, as stated, will be the starting center. Voltz offered advice to the redshirt sophomore.
“He’s obviously taken over the center role and he’s growing into one of the most experienced guys one of the best players,” Voltz said. “The next step is to be that leader, be that consistent player that guys can rally around him.”
Of Voltz’s future plans, he said, “I look forward to being healthy and having a productive life after football.”
Photo Courtesy of UW Athletics.