Notre Dame football player Danny Spond was a starting linebacker with a promising future, but now he has been forced to cut his playing career short due to a battle with migraines.
Spond announced his retirement from football this week, saying the hemiplegic migraines that kept him out of two games last year had returned.
“My football playing career is over after suffering another paralyzing migraine early in fall camp,” Spond said in a statement. “I’ve received the best medical treatment and guidance possible. Unfortunately, an exact cause of these migraines remained undetermined, and in order to assure my overall well-being, I’m forced to walk away from the game with an extremely heavy heart.”
The Notre Dame team physician, Dr. Jennifer Malcolm, said Spond suffers from a rare form of headache that actually has stroke-like symptoms. Danny’s episode last year was so bad that he actually needed rehabilitation to learn how to walk again.
But Spond was able to return to the Notre Dame football team, starting 11 games. He finished his career with the Fighting Irish with 53 tackles, one and a half tackles for loss and one interception in 29 career games.
Though migraines have cut his career short, Danny Spond is resolved to stay with Notre Dame football. He plans to travel with the team and serve as a mentor for the outside linebackers.
“I promise to continue to give all I can to this university this year by coaching my position and providing senior leadership in all ways. You may no longer hear my name on the field, but I promise you, this is not the last you will hear of Danny Spond,” he said.
The story comes in an offseason of bad news for Notre Dame football. After being crushed in the BCS title game, the program was plagued with setbacks and bad headlines. Heisman Trophy candidate Manti Te’o was exposed as the victim of a strange hoax that included a made-up girlfriend.
The team then lost quarterback prospect Gunner Kiel, a top high school recruit expected to eventually compete for the starting job. A few weeks later, quarterback Everett Golson was booted from the Notre Dame football team and kicked out of the university for an academic violation.