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Injuries end Danny Spond’s career

Aug 17, 2013, 9:52 PM EDT

BYU v Notre Dame Getty Images

Sad news out of South Bend today, as senior linebacker Danny Spond announced that he’s retiring from football due to injuries. Multiple sources have told me that concussions have ended the career of the versatile 6-foot-2, 248-pound linebacker from Littleton, Colorado.

(After discussing Spond’s retirement with someone inside the program, the story has been adjusted. Concussions did not end Spond’s career.)

Brian Kelly announced the news Saturday after practice.

“It was an emotional decision,” Kelly said. “It didn’t come without a lot of thought. He spent the day speaking to a lot of specialists and his family was here, so this was not a decision that came easy.”

Spond’s career at Notre Dame was riddled with injuries, but will mostly be remembered by an impressive junior season in ’12. After a major hit last preseason almost ended Spond’s career, concussion like symptoms put Spond in the hospital before being diagnosed as migraine headaches. Spond returned after missing the start of the season to take over the Dog linebacker job, bringing a versatile player to Irish defense, holding up against the run while becoming a key cog in the Irish pass defense.

Spond was expected to start again at outside linebacker until another hit ended his career during this training camp. While Spond is likely to explain in more detail the difficult decision to call it a career, the field-side linebacker position now becomes a two-man race between junior Ben Councell and true freshman Jaylon Smith.

Still, it’s difficult to look too far in the future without acknowledging the loss of Spond both on and off the field. Kelly said as much himself, talking about the importance of the player that was Kelly’s first committed recruiting target at Notre Dame.

“He loves his teammates, but I think what’s most important is he did what was in his best interest for his future,” Kelly said. “He’s got a bright future… He wants to be with the team, and our teammates were excited to hear he’ll be with us every day. He’ll travel with us. He’ll help coach.”

  1. doc-domer79 - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    Great kid. Difference maker. ND man. But it is only a game. Go and have a great life. A Notre Dame life.

  2. bernhtp - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Danny Spond is the ultimate RKG who made a huge contribution to last year’s successful season. He will be missed on the field, but I am sure he will be greatly appreciated as a coach and comrade. He will do well in life.

  3. NotreDan - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    Good luck to you Danny. I hope your body heals and I hope you have and keep peace with your decision.

  4. cvilleirish - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    I couldn’t have said it better than NotreDan did. May God watch over you and help you succeed in all that you do Danny.

  5. jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    So sad. I love me some Spond. He had some good starts last year (excelled against UM for like 7 or 8 tackles) after working out that weird migraine thing. I was anxious to see him this season as one of the leaders of the D. Well, health comes first but I can’t imagine the difficulty of his decision, especially with such great hopes riding on this season. He can still be a teacher and an inspiration to the rest of his teammates. Good luck Danny, sorry your playing career had to end this way but we thank you for giving it your all and the memories you gave us from a perfect season.

  6. onward2victory - Aug 18, 2013 at 2:47 AM

    This is really sad. He seems like a really solid guy with a strong faith. I’ll always remember Spond being in there on the goal line stand against Stanford. ND is fortunate to have had such a fantastic player and person.

  7. yaketyyacc - Aug 18, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    feel sad. but only can echo the good thoughts of our other posters. speaks volumes that Danny Spond wants to be with his team. Good luck.

  8. mtflsmitty - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    It’s wonderful that someday he’ll be able to tell his kids about 2012′s incredible 12-1 season, and the defense that took them so far.

  9. irish2011 - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Good luck Danny and thanks for the memories!

  10. gtizzo - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Danny you were the guy who never got many headlines last season but the defense wouldn’t have been the same without you. Best of luck and best wishes to you. ND nation thanks you and will pray for your future.

  11. smurphdoggy29 - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Thank you Danny for what you did for Notre Dame/Us, and God Bless you in what you are doing for yourself for the best !

  12. jem5b - Aug 18, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    A terrific kid, with a terrific story. He’ll be a success in life.
    To share another sad story, Tony Alford’s brother passed away, and ND Nation(which eats its young) has a link to help Tony’s brother’s family financially. It’s a nice, and Notre Dame gesture.

  13. danirish - Aug 18, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    This kid will graduate with a degree from Notre Dame! Well done! It sucks about the injuries, it really does, he was a great part of the defense. When he stripped the ball from Denard Robinson I felt that that play won the game.

    Stand Strong Spond!

  14. upthera44 - Aug 18, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Great kid and an outstanding football player. He will be sorely missed this year.

  15. thefightinfloyds - Aug 18, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Man, tough loss… Spond was one of my favorites on last years squad. Just seemed like a good kid, a true football player and a real Notre Dame guy. Were lucky that so far the injuries and early losses have been at positions that we can afford a man or two to go down. That being said I thought I heard BK say that they were getting Romeo some work at Dog. I wonder if he has a shot or if this is competition is down to Councell and Smith.

  16. 4horsemenrideagain - Aug 18, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    This is a sad day and I’m just sick about it, not because of what it means to ND football but because of how disappointing it must be for Spond. The bright side is that he and his family have the sense and the courage to do what’s right for him and resist the temptation to ignore the science. I absolutely love the way this kid played and anyone who would decide to come back to play football again after what he went through last year, you just know he loves playing football.

    If his technique and execution are any indications, he will be a fantastic student coach and it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that he makes a huge contribution this year bringing Jaylon Smith and Romeo along.

  17. irishspartan1 - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    So sad to see him go, great athlete, great player, perfect example of an RKG. He should be the personal coach for Ben Council, and Jaylon Smith. He is going to graduate from Notre Dame, and have a great life after football. He will be an example to recruits of guys who excelled in life after football because of Notre Dame and the work he put in. Good Luck Danny Spond! You will be missed

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