Former Aspen standout grounded
David Goldberg has been in limbo since January.The 2006 Aspen High School graduate’s knees have healed, and he is eager to resume his quest of playing Division IA football – this time for the University of Colorado. Still, uncertainty surrounded Goldberg’s future as NCAA officials debated whether to grant him eligibility for the upcoming season. Until Thursday afternoon. The NCAA told Goldberg he will not be eligible to play for the Buffaloes this fall, he said. The decision, which was due three months ago, comes just weeks before the start of training camp. “I’m not discouraged. It wouldn’t be college football if there weren’t a bunch of hurdles to jump over,” Goldberg said. “Of all the things I’ve gone through with my knees and with Penn State, this is the least of my problems.”A 2A Western Slope All-Conference selection in 2005, Goldberg was originally recruited to play at Penn State. He was in Happy Valley last summer taking part in team practices when knee issues – the direct result of wear and an increased push to add muscle after the high school hockey season – became a major concern. The medial plicas, or folds of tissue lining the knee joints, in each of Goldberg’s knees became irritated and needed removal.With surgery imminent, and in the interest of maintaining his eligibility, Goldberg decided to take the fall semester off.An operation on the plica in Goldberg’s left knee in August revealed a torn meniscus. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker initially decided to go forward with rehabilitation. He enrolled at Penn State for the spring 2007 semester.Physicians in the valley and at the school disagreed over the extent of Goldberg’s injuries. While specialists here cautioned him to rest his knee, Penn State doctors believed he was healthy enough to participate in team workouts.The quarrel, albeit affable, ultimately prompted Goldberg to transfer.”My knee wasn’t ready, and the surgery six weeks later proved that,” Goldberg said. “It was one of those things where if I did the surgery sooner, I’d be in better position than if I did it later.”It was a friendly disagreement with the doctors. I left Penn State on great terms. They said I still have season tickets for the rest of my life.”Goldberg pulled out of Penn State after attending just two weeks of classes, a move the NCAA led him and his father to believe would preserve his eligibility. Under a NCAA rule, Division I athletes must sit out one school year when transferring. He decided to attend CU, one of the schools that recruited him out of high school. Neither the University of Miami or the University of San Diego had a roster spot for him because of prior commitments to recruits. “My understanding was that my only chance to be able to play this year was if I left then,” Goldberg said. “Some coaches at CU told me I’d be able to play. We’ve been trying to argue we were misinformed by the NCAA.”Goldberg’s future remained cloudy as a legal dispute with the NCAA lingered. He had a third knee surgery in March and was on crutches for seven weeks. In the month and a half since getting the go-ahead to begin training, Goldberg has been running and working out at the Aspen Club with trainer Bill Fabrocini. He watches game film at least once a week.”I’ve been waiting to play football again since the minute I took off my pads,” said Goldberg, who last played Oct. 28, 2005, in the Skiers regular-season finale. “I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life right now.” As a result of the NCAA’s latest ruling, Goldberg won’t be allowed to participate in training camp, but can practice with the team once school starts. His hopes of lining up on the field, however, will have to wait for another year.”I’ve tried to stay realistic about this. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and have them be shattered,” he said. “This is a bump in the road, but I intend to keep going. If anything, I want this more now.”Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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