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Knee injury forces DL Johnathan Berghorst to medically retire

(Photo: CMU Athletics)

Johnathan Berghorst's college football career didn't go as planned.

A knee injury, including multiple fractured bones and torn ligaments, was sustained just weeks before the 2017 season set him back. He never made a full recovery.

Berghorst's on-field experience was cut short.

"It’s unfortunate that I can’t play anymore due to injury," Berghorst said. "I am proud to have accomplished my goal of playing college football."

Based on his conversations with doctors and the athletic department's medical staff, Berghorst has chosen to medically retire.

Berghorst will remain on scholarship at CMU and work as a student intern with the football team's operations and recruitment of high school prospects.

"I have had a great experience being a part of the CMU program, and I am excited to continue with them helping out as a student intern," he said. "Coach Mac and his staff have been very encouraging and supportive throughout the whole process.

"I am looking forward to continuing to help them and be a part of the program."

Berghorst missed the 2017 season with the knee injury. After rehab, he played in four games as a true freshman in 2018. 

During the offseason, his knee got worse, causing him to miss all of 2019. He decided to retire in January following the New Mexico Bowl.

"I pushed hard to get back and play last season, which I'm proud I did, but it was a challenge once I injured it again and to keep pushing through those injuries," Berghorst said. "I had great support from teammates, coaches and trainers who were encouraging throughout the process."

In the four games he played in 2018, the 6-foot-3, 285-pound lineman impressed former coach John Bonamego. He made two solo tackles.

Graduating from Zeeland East High School, Berghorst was a member of the Detroit News Dream Team, Detroit Free Press Dream Team, First Team Associated Press Division 3-4 All-State and the Holland Sentinel Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 as a senior.

Berghorst was a four-year starter and two-year captain of his high school football team. He was a three-star prospect with other offers from Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan.