FRISCO, Texas – Travis Frederick has passed many difficult hurdles in his recovery from Guillain-Barre syndrome.
The next gauge will come this spring when, based on his progress to this point, he anticipates participating in the start of the Cowboys’ voluntary workouts.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be 100 percent full go. I don’t if it’s going to be some. We’re just going to kind of feel it out sort of as we’ve felt this whole process,” the Cowboys’ veteran center said Tuesday night at the second annual Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year award ceremony at The Star in Frisco.
Guillain-Barre syndrome attacks the body’s nervous system. Frederick, a four-time Pro Bowler, sat out the 2018 season after being diagnosed with the auto-immune disease in late August.
But he has made steady progress in his work with the medical staff the past few months to the point where he feels roughly “90 or 95 percent” healthy again. In addition to the nerve regeneration, he’s been in the weight room building back his strength and explosion. He has done some light running as part of a diligent recovery plan that will eventually progress to full sprints.
“I’m to the point now where I can do almost everything that I’ve been able to do previously,” he said. “Now, am I running at my top speed? I don’t know because I haven’t hit that number. Am I jumping as high as I have? I’m not sure yet. But once we get back in March and April we’ll get a good feeling on where things are.
“It’s certainly been a long road and since the season’s been over I’ve continued to progress and things are moving in the right direction. I feel good about this spring.”
Sitting out the season was difficult for Frederick. He had never missed a start in his first five seasons with the Cowboys. Without him, the offensive line went through several changes throughout the year.
Head coach Jason Garrett praised Frederick after the season for staying engaged and helping his teammates where possible.
“He was at every meeting, every walkthrough, every practice every single day,” Garrett said in January. “And he got his rehab and he got all the other stuff he needed to get done really on his own time.
“He had such a positive impact on the new guys that were playing – Connor Williams, Joe Looney, some of the other guys who had to play for us. He was such a stabilizing factor. And then we made that coaching change (on the offensive line) I think he helped Marc (Colombo) immensely. So his leadership and his dedication and his selflessness for our football team, I can’t overstate it.”
Now he’s on the verge of rejoining his teammates on the field in a matter of weeks.
“Honestly we’re not going to know, until we get out there and start doing some stuff, where exactly I’m at,” Frederick said. “There isn’t a great way to empirically say, ‘This is the point that you’re going to be ready to come back.’ We can do all the nerve tests we want, but without a baseline we don’t where normal is. Everybody’s normal is a little bit different. So now it’s just about working in the weight room, trying to continue to increase my strength and work with the team in the offseason as far as conditioning wise and get myself ready to try and meet at the same point as the rest of the team come March and April.