Danny Spond started 11 games at outside linebacker during Notre Dame’s run to the 2013 BCS title game. Unfortunately, the young man will be watching the upcoming season from the sidelines. On Saturday, he and coach Brian Kelly announced that the 6-foot-2, 248-pound Spond will be walking away from the game of football for undisclosed medical reasons.
“It was an emotional decision,” Kelly said of Spond. “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.
“He loves his teammates, but I think what’s most important is he did what was in his best interest for his future,” Kelly added. “He’s got a bright future. And his immediate [future] is 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.”
The reason Spond started 11 games instead of the team’s full 13 last year is because he was forced to miss the program’s first two after the left side of his body went numb during a preseason practice in August. Spond saw specialists at the University of Michigan who diagnosed the numbness as acutely severe migraines. They told him and the Notre Dame staff that the issue could be controlled with medication.
On Saturday, however, Spond was spotted at practice limping and using a cane for support. Headed into his senior season, he may be old by collegiate standards, but he is obviously far too young to be needing a cane to help get around.
In his stead, redshirt sophomore Ben Councell and five-star freshman Jaylon Smith will be given the opportunity to compete for the freshly vacated position.
Spond collected 39 total tackles as a junior in 2012-13. He also recorded an interception, three break-ups and four passes defended.