A recurrence of hemiplegic migraines was behind Danny Spond's decision to end his football career, the former Notre Dame linebacker explained in a statement released Tuesday evening.
“My football playing career is over after suffering another paralyzing migraine early in fall camp,” Spond said. “I’ve received the best medical treatment and guidance possible. Unfortunately, an exact cause of these migraines remains undetermined, and in order to assure my overall well-being, I’m forced to walk away from the game with an extremely heavy heart.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time for me and my family, but by the Grace of God, we can find comfort in His greater plan. Being a man of God and an ambassador for his word, I have come to realize that in times of questioning His plan you have to let go and let God take over, and that is what I am doing. I’ve played this game my entire life, and losing it makes me feel as if I have lost something inside. But I find comfort in knowing my Lord will open the next chapter in my life and fill what’s been taken.
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“I want to sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank each and every person who has supported me and my career at Notre Dame for their thoughts and prayers. You are the greatest people and fans in this world and make Notre Dame the most righteous University that I could ever represent; I love each and every one of you so very much. 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. With God, my family, and Notre Dame, I will persevere to do great things.”
Spond suffered from severe migraines last August during fall camp, and missed Notre Dame's first two games due to them. According to WebMD.com, hemiplagic migraines are " so pronounced and extreme that they cause a temporary, stroke-like paralysis on one side of the body."
Notre Dame head football team physician Dr. Jennifer Malcolm, D.O., said Spond isn't likely to experience any negative effects down the road.
"Hemiplegic migraines are a rare form of headache that present with temporary stroke-like symptoms, such as weakness and slurred speech,” Malcolm explained in a statement. “Danny has suffered from a series of these migraines, but with medication, rehabilitation and a positive attitude he should avoid any long-term consequences. As there are no fully reliable predictors of hemiplegic migraines and ultimate prevention is extremely challenging, we fully support Danny.”
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Spond will stay with the Irish this fall, coaching the team's 'dog' outside linebackers. Freshman Jaylon Smith, junior Ben Councell and sophomore Romeo Okwara are expected to compete for playing time in Spond's absence. In 29 career games, Spond totaled 53 tackles, had four pass breakups and intercepted one pass.
Last October, Spond explained the pain associated with the migraines he suffered that August.
"That's definitely the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life," Spond said. "I would rather take a lot of injuries than a migraine, that's for sure. Not only scaring me to death with all the symptoms that came along with it, but just the absolute excruciating pounding I felt for a week, just constant.
"There are very few things that I felt that were that painful. I would never wish anything upon anybody that bad."