In an article posted Wednesday to UND.com, Notre Dame's official athletics website, former Irish linebacker Danny Spond detailed the gruesome pain that pushed him to end his football playing career.
"I would have rather just had my head torn off than have it attached during those moments," Spond, who was diagnosed with hemiplagic migraines in August, told the site. "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 suffered the same symptoms last August, and missed Notre Dame's first two games as rumors swirled the 'dog' outside linebacker had suffered a stroke. That's ultimately not what the problem was, although hemiplagic migraines do cause stroke-like symptoms -- just like the ones described by Spond in the quote above.
In what would've been his senior season, Spond still travels with Notre Dame works with the team's 'dog' outside linebackers. Freshman Jaylon Smith gave plenty of credit to Spond in talking to the media Wednesday, saying his transition to the demanding position has been made easier because of Spond's presence.
"Even though he's not on that field, he's still been a great influence in my life and I'll continue to learn from him," Smith said.
Spond said his decision to end his playing career was "the deepest disappointment I ever felt," and said of his announcement to the team: "I had tears in my eyes and a lot of guys came up to me with tears in their eyes as well."
Spond, though, said he hasn't got down on himself since cutting his playing career short.
"I have come to realize that God doesn't give you anything you can't handle and this is just another way of Him testing me," Spond said. "It's a way I may not understand for the next 30 years but it's something that I feel he believes I am strong enough to get through."