DALLAS, Tx. – Officials with the National Football League on Friday announced that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has been given the go-ahead to undergo a surgical procedure that would permanently affix a new type of exoskeleton designed for use by U.S. special operations forces to his back and lower body.
“We’ve been presented with a unique opportunity to work alongside those who make the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced during a press conference Friday morning. Goodell said he was recently approached by an official with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) who said Tony Romo had been selected from a pool of fifteen injured NFL players to take part in a new Exo Suit program.
Tony Romo suffered a near season-ending back injury last Thursday during a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. The thirty-six year-old quarterback took a hit that resulted in a compression fracture to his L1 vertebra, an injury that sources inside the Cowboys camp say could put him out for up to ten weeks. However, that could all change if Romo decides to enter DARPA’s program.
“From what I’ve been told, if he were to go through with it, it would be very beneficial,” Commissioner Goodell told reporters. While Goodell wasn’t make privy to the inner workings of DARPA’s highly classified Exo Suit program, he said that if Romo agrees to be outfitted with the prototype exoskeleton, he will find that he is able to “easily surpass the physical limits of the human body.”
For his part, Tony Romo has yet to agree to the program – at least publicly. The prospect of returning to the field sooner rather than later is, presumably, very appealing to the all-star quarterback. However, in all likelihood, Romo is weighing the negative implications of wearing a prototype exoskeleton for the rest of his life. Whatever the case, Romo will have to make a decision soon or face the possibility of sitting out for at least half the season.