Cincinnati All-America DT Dontay Corleone out indefinitely due to blood clots

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bearcats announced on Friday that junior Dontay Corleone, an All-American and All-Big 12 defensive tackle, is out indefinitely after blood clots were found in his lungs.

The blood clots were discovered after Corleone reported chest discomfort and shortness of breath to Cincinnati athletic trainers, who worked closely with physicians and specialists at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center on the diagnosis and initial treatment. Corleone spent one night in the hospital and was discharged on June 14. He has been recovering at home since then and will continue to sit out any football activities for an undetermined period while he continues to receive treatment.

“I am incredibly grateful to my family and for Aaron Himmler, Dr. Jon Divine, our whole medical staff and the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for guiding me through this over the last few weeks,” Corleone said in a statement. “Right now, I’m focused on my recovery. My hope is I will be able to return to football soon, but in the meantime, I will do everything I can to rehab and help the football program as a leader and mentor to our younger players. I’m looking forward to being around the guys soon. The sky is the limit for the Bearcats this season. I love my teammates, our coaches, this university, this city, and — of course — this fan base, which has been incredibly supportive of me over the last three years.”

Corleone, a product of local Colerain High School nicknamed “The Godfather,” earned All-Big 12 second-team honors in 2023 in Cincinnati’s inaugural season in the conference, recording 39 total tackles, three sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble. Corleone had a breakout season as a redshirt freshman in 2022, when he was named a third-team and freshman All-American with 45 tackles, three sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and two recoveries. He was also Pro Football Focus’s highest-rated defensive player in the FBS in 2022.



Making of ‘The Godfather’: A monster season is on the menu for Cincinnati’s Dontay Corleone

“I’m extremely grateful for our medical staff, who identified this problem right away. We are going to support Dontay in every way we can through this,” said Cincinnati head coach Scott Satterfield. “Dontay is an outstanding leader and everything you can ask for in a student-athlete. He genuinely cares about doing everything right and leading his teammates. We know he is going to do everything he can to pour into our program while he recovers and focuses on his health. My top concern is for Dontay’s health. Football isn’t a priority right now. We will be here to help support Dontay through every step of this process.”

While every case is different, there is some precedent for football players returning to the field after suffering from blood clots, including current NFL players Trey Smith, Marquise Goodwin and Kenneth Walker III. Corleone and the Bearcats’ medical staff will consult specialists to determine next steps.

“Dontay came to us with chest pain and told us he was having trouble breathing. Over the course of two days, we ran several different tests with the UC Medical Center that determined he had blood clots in both of his lungs. His recovery has been going well,” Aaron Himmler, Cincinnati’s senior associate athletic director for sports medicine, said in a statement. “Thankfully, we caught this early, and we are hopeful he will be able to safely return to playing football in the near future. We are currently consulting specialists to determine next steps. Most importantly, Dontay is in good health right now. We are grateful for the hard work of Dr. Jon Divine and our partnership with the UC Medical Center that allowed us to quickly identify and treat the problem.”

Cincinnati, coming off a 3-9 record and last-place finish in its first season in the Big 12, opens the 2024 season against Towson at Nippert Stadium on Aug. 31.

(Photo: Kareem Elgazzar / The Enquirer / USA Today)

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