Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman cleared to return after blood clot issue

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Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman has been cleared to return to the field.

Hartman was ruled out indefinitely on Aug. 10 due to a “non-football related medical condition.” On Tuesday, the university revealed that Hartman “developed a blood clot in the subclavian vein” and was diagnosed with Paget-Schroetter syndrome, also known as effort thrombosis.

In the weeks since his diagnosis, Hartman underwent a procedure to remove the blood clot and a subsequent surgery to eliminate the pressure on the affected vein. Hartman has completed medical evaluations and progressed through a return to play protocol and is available to return to action for the Demon Deacons on Saturday against Vanderbilt.

In a statement, Hartman’s surgeon, Dr. Julie A. Freischlag, said that the medical team involved with Hartman’s case believe the blood clot “occurred as a result of a previous infection that eventually caused inflammation.”

"After our diagnosis on Aug. 9, we first did a procedure to remove the blood clot. Secondly, we performed surgery to eliminate the pressure on the vein and then dilated the vein,” Freischlag said.

“On Friday, we did another follow-up ultrasound on Sam and everything looked great. The clot was gone, the blood flow was good and he felt great. Blood thinner therapies were discontinued once they became medically unnecessary and he is medically cleared to return to full competition. Sam is a wonderful young man and I, and our entire team, wish him all the best as he returns to the football field."

Injured Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman (10) watches teammates warm up for an NCAA college football game against VMI in Winston-Salem, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Injured Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman (10) watches teammates warm up for an NCAA college football game against VMI in Winston-Salem, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Last month, Hartman sought medical attention following a workout. After testing, the blood clot was discovered and the diagnosis was made. Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said Hartman would return to the field at some point during the season, but it was unclear how long he would be sidelined.

It turned out to be just one game.

"This process has made me appreciate all the people at Wake Forest University and around our football program for how they care for us as student-athletes. I am very appreciative of Dr. Julie Freischlag, Dr. Matthew Goldman, Niles Fleet and everyone on our medical staff who worked with me throughout this process,” Hartman said. “There will be time for me to tell my complete story, but right now I am just really excited to get back on the field with my teammates and compete each day to help our team get ready for Vanderbilt this Saturday in Nashville.”

In Hartman’s absence, Wake Forest opened its season with a 44-10 victory over VMI on Saturday. Mitch Griffis started in Hartman’s place and threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns in the win.

Hartman has been Wake Forest’s starting quarterback for three of the past four seasons. In 2021, he led the Demon Deacons to an ACC Atlantic title. In the process, he threw for 4,228 yards and 39 touchdowns while also rushing for 363 yards and 11 scores.

Hartman first became Wake’s starter in 2018 as a freshman. He was behind Jamie Newman on the depth chart for much of the 2019 season but then re-emerged as the starter over the last two seasons. For his career, Hartman has thrown for 9,266 yards, 72 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He has one year of eligibility available beyond this season.

“As I said from the beginning, Sam Hartman's return to the field would be left up to our medical professionals. As a two-time captain and someone who is one of the finest leaders I have had the pleasure to coach, Sam attacked this rehabilitation process and it has been really special to see how everyone inside and out of our program supported Sam since the announcement last month,” Clawson said.