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Spond talks about the decision to walk away from football

Sep 26, 2013, 4:51 PM EDT

Danny Spond

Notre Dame lost outside linebacker Danny Spond during fall camp after recurring issues with severe migraine headaches forced the senior to make the difficult to decision to walk away from the game.

Spond had never suffered from migraines until he had one so debilitating that he suffered stroke-like symptoms last year during fall camp. After a stay in the hospital and meetings with several doctors, the Colorado native returned and became a key contributor during last season’s BCS Championship run, taking over the starting Drop linebacker job and running with it.

But after suffering three hemiplegic migraines in the span of a year, Spond decided to retire from football, a decision he didn’t make easily. He finally spoke about the decision with

“I would have rather just had my head torn off than have it attached during those moments,” Spond told when describing the pain he felt during the migraines. “I couldn’t see. My whole left side of my body was completely numb. I can’t open my eyes. My speech gets slurred. When I smile, only half of my face smiles. I lose control of my left arm. I lose control of my left leg. I wouldn’t wish any of it on my worst enemy.”

Spond was set to return at outside linebacker and be a key anchor to the defense when he was struck with another headache in camp. The injury was crippling — he was still using a cane to walk at practice a week after the incident.

Ultimately, Spond met again with neurologists in Ann Arbor and continually with doctors at Notre Dame, trying to find a solution for a rare headache that can trigger eplieptic seizures, stroke-like symptoms and even a coma. In the end, it just didn’t make sense for him to continue putting himself at risk.

Spond talked about the difficult decision to tell Bob Diaco and Brian Kelly he was retiring and the emotions that came with telling his teammates.

“I had tears in my eyes and a lot of guys came up to me with tears in their eyes as well,” Spond told “It just showed me how much support I have. It really was a testament to the university. That’s why Notre Dame is the most special and honorable place to play football in the country.”





  1. irishking - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    I feel so sorry for Danny Spond and hope that he makes a full recovery.

  2. irishaggie - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    It’s such a shame to see this happen to such a great guy. As far as football goes he’s greatly missed but his health is obviously more important. I was excited to see Jaylon learn from example watching Danny, but at least we didn’t lose him entirely.

  3. NotreDan - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    For Danny Spond:

    May the road rise to meet you
    May the wind be always at your back
    May the sun shine warm upon your face
    May the rains fall soft upon your fields
    And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

    Best of luck to you kid.

  4. nudeman - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    And may you be in heaven a half hour before the devil (and the British) know you’re dead

  5. tony34343434 - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    we will miss you on the field but you will graduate from one of the greatest schools in the world. You will have pick of your jobs. Best of luck in all you do. Thank God we have a university and not minor league football factory like the SEC. Go Irish!!!!

  6. jerseyirish10 - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Good luck Danny. You are a true Notre Dame man.

  7. yaketyyacc - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    Danny, She brings all of us to Her place, we call Notre Dame. She has her reasons, which may not be ours. You thought it was football. Rockne thought it was to be a professor of chemistry. Eduardo Duarte thought it was to be educated and return to his upper class existence. well, we know the Rock was chosen to bring Her spirit to so many more through football. Duarte was chosen to lead the peons from five hundred years of a non existence and become the president of his country.
    and you? just follow where She leads. God has blessed you, you are special. Hey, your Notre Dame!

  8. 4horsemenrideagain - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    it’s telling that in a statement Spond makes about his decision to stop playing football, he manages to get the attention off of himself and discusses his team, his teammates and his school.

    a classy, classy kid.

  9. danirish - Sep 27, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Fantastic young man who will do great things – too bad about football, but he will have a degree from a fine university and do well.

    gonna iss ya on the field!

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