Kye Allums broke ground when he fought and won the right to play as the first openly transgender NCAA Division I basketball player. Today it was announced he won't be returning for his senior year on the women's basketball team at George Washington University.
This season, Allums, who was born female but identifies as a male, only played in eight games and endured as many as eight concussions (how that's possible, I'm not sure), including two that cut this season short. He said previously that he was having memory problems because of them.
In a statement, the university said Allums “has decided that it is in his best interest to no longer participate in intercollegiate athletics.”
Lest anyone think they forced him out, the school included a statement from Allums that said, "I alone came to this conclusion and I thank the athletic department for respecting my wishes."
With that kind of medical record, that seems like a sensible move, but it's not without some sorrow to see him fight so hard to play, then have his career cut so short. Injuries sideline players' ambitions all the time; it's just particularly sad to see it happen to this player after he took on this courageous journey.
Of course, his health has to come first, and the impact he made in college sports and the road he paved for others like him won't be diminished by this news whether he's on the court or not. It would have been nice to see him take his dream and soar, but at least he has enabled others who go after him to dream of doing what previously would have been unthinkable for many.
When he was sidelined back in March, he was asked what he would do if he couldn't return to the court. He told ESPN: "I'll just be trying to make some kind of difference in the world."
He already has, and I'm sure will continue to do so.
Are you sad to see Kye Allums skip his senior year?
Image via MinimalistPhotography101.com/Flickr