Badgers lose tailback to heart ailment

Updated: August 27, 2004, 11:16 PM ET
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin running back Dwayne Smith will not play for the Badgers again because of a recently discovered heart disorder.

The team announced Thursday that Smith, who also faces a sexual assault charge, has a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy -- characterized by an enlargement of the heart and a thickening of the left ventricle walls.

It was discovered during a preseason physical exam earlier this month, coach and athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a statement.

"Our entire football program feels for Dwayne and will support and help him as much as possible," Alvarez said. "This is difficult news to handle, but I know Dwayne and his family will persevere through this. The silver lining is that Dwayne's condition was discovered now and can be treated appropriately."

As a sophomore last season, Smith led the team with 857 yards and nine touchdowns, becoming the starter when Anthony Davis was lost to an injury. Smith was set to be Davis' backup this season.

Smith participated in the Badgers' first practice this month but has not taken part since then.

The 20-year-old pleaded not guilty in May to second-degree sexual assault. Earlier this month his attorney filed two motions seeking to dismiss the charge.

Smith and an acquaintance, Anwar Jones, were arrested in February after a Madison woman said she was assaulted in a downtown apartment.

The tailback was initially suspended for all spring practices, under the school's student-athlete discipline policy. After an appeal his suspension was reduced to five practices.

Alvarez's statement said Smith did not want to comment.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press