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COLLEGE FOOTBALL Fla. State QB to miss year with illness



Published: Sun, July 10, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Wyatt Sexton has been diagnosed with Lyme disease.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Wyatt Sexton, the Florida State quarterback who was found disheveled and disoriented on a city street last month, has been diagnosed with Lyme disease and will miss the upcoming season, the university reported Saturday.

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said the university would seek a sixth year of eligibility for Sexton, who has already used his redshirt season. He is the Seminoles' only experienced quarterback.

"It looks like Wyatt will need several months of treatment and will have to miss the season," Bowden said in a statement.

Organs infected

A specialist in the field of Lyme disease, Dr. S. Chandra Swami from Hermitage, Pa., said Sexton's organs have been infected and recommended intensive antibiotic therapy over a period of months.

"Wyatt has active Lyme Disease that has resulted in neuropsychiatric and cardiovascular deficits," Dr. Swami said.

The disease is curable, but the estimated recovery time for his advanced stage of infection is several months. If untreated, the disease can cause joint swelling and brain inflammation.

"We expect him to fully recover," Sexton's parents, Billy and Joy, said in a statement in the school's release. Billy Sexton is the running backs coach for the Seminoles.

Freshmen to take over

The Seminoles will now choose between a pair of redshirt freshmen, Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee, as the starting quarterback for their nationally televised season opener Sept. 5 against Miami. The team begins its preseason practice Aug. 9.

"It may come down to flipping a coin as to who starts the season," Bowden said.

Wyatt Sexton was the projected starter at quarterback. He played in 10 games in 2004, completing 55.2 percent of his passes for 1,661 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had eight interceptions.

On June 14, the 20-year-old Sexton was doused by pepper spray and taken to a hospital after he was found lying in the street and identifying himself as God. His parents released a statement two days later that said drug abuse was not the problem.

Transmitted by ticks

Lyme disease bacteria are transmitted to humans by ticks that are carried by deer.

The disease is often identified by an expanding "bulls-eye" rash that develops days to weeks after a tick bite. Other symptoms include tiredness, fever, muscle aches and joint pain.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said there are an increasing number of cases that are attributed to growing populations of deer that support deer ticks, more homes being built in wooded areas and better recognition and reporting of the disease, named in 1977 when a cluster was identified in Lyme, Conn.

In addition to Sexton, the Seminoles could also be without their two linebackers, Ernie Sims and A.J. Nicholson, for the Miami game because of recent run-ins with the law.

Florida State was 9-3 in 2004, but failed to win the Atlantic Coast Conference title for just the second time in 13 seasons, and wound up ranked 15th -- its fourth straight year outside the Top 10 in the final Associated Press poll.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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