OXNARD, Calif. – About this time last year, Travis Frederick knew something was wrong.
The Cowboys' veteran center began feeling numbness in his toes and hands last summer in training camp. He consulted doctors about the symptoms, which were similar to a stinger injury in football. It was something more serious.
A year later, Frederick is back for training camp after a successful battle against Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare but treatable auto-immune disease that attacks the nervous system.
"I think it's just a little bit of extra excitement for me, just a little bit more comfort, too, for whatever reason," Frederick said Thursday after the team arrived in Oxnard. "Even at this point last year I was starting to feel things, and that's just another added layer or anxiety and nervousness going into a camp.
"You always have that, no matter how long you play. You're going have a little bit of anxiety about how things are going to work out, but for me this year, I just feel very at ease knowing I've been through what I have and all I have to do now is play football."
Frederick was on a modified workout plan with the athletic training staff during the offseason program, due in part to having clean-up shoulder surgery and a hernia repair unrelated to GBS.
All along, Frederick has pointed to the start of camp for his full return and believes padded practice will be the best gauge of his progress since the illness. The Cowboys' first non-pads practice is Saturday. He'll have a better idea about his practice plan Friday, after the players have their customary physicals, conditioning run and meetings.
"I haven't talked to the trainers yet and we don't have our physicals until tomorrow, so we'll double check in on everything," he said. "But I feel really good and I'm excited to see where I'm at.
"You don't realize what you have until it's gone and you get a chance to evaluate that and get excited about what you do have. Also, through the whole thing I gained a sense of peace about where I was. I'm excited to take each day in and really savor the experience."