Oklahoma Starting Center Retires Following Offseason Neck Surgery
Habern, a returning starter, has endured neck and back pains for an extended period of time and was concerned that continuing his playing career would put his overall health in jeopardy.
"Our coaching staff knows this was a difficult decision for Ben," coach Bob Stoops said in a statement. "Ben has been a consummate leader for our team, both on and off the field. We appreciate the toughness that Ben has displayed, and we wish him the very best as he completes his education at OU."
Habern broke his left leg as a freshman in 2009, missed part of last season with a broken right arm and skipped spring practice due to other lingering injuries.
He had neck surgery to fuse together two vertabrae this offseason.
A starter for 30 games, Habern's experience will be missed. However, junior Gabe Ikard filled in at center for a part of last season and the offensive line is still expected to be one of the best in the Big 12.
Habern's decision to retire did not come as a surprise to the team. He had battled tough injuries dating back to his high school years, where he sustained a spinal issue.
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