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Notre Dame linebacker Danny Spond's career came to a premature end because of hemiplegic migraines, the senior said Monday in a statement through the school.
"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."
Spond also thanked the Notre Dame community for its support during the process.
"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," the statement said. "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."
Spond will remain with the team in 2013 and serve as a student-coach. He will graduate this spring with a degree in political science.
"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," he said. "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."
"Hemiplegic migraines are a rare form of headache that present with temporary stroke-like symptoms, such as weakness and slurred speech," Notre Dame head football team physician Dr. Jennifer Malcolm said 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."
Spond started 11 games last year for the 12-1 Fighting Irish, notching 39 total tackles, including one for a loss, to go with an interception, three break-ups and four passes defended.
The Littleton, Colo., native was at practice Saturday walking with a limp and using a cane. Head coach Brian Kelly announced afterward that Spond's playing career was over because of a medical issue.
The 6-foot-2, 248-pounder missed Notre Dame's first two games last season after the left side of his body went numb during a preseason practice in August.
Specialists at the University of Michigan later determined Spond was suffering from a severe migraine with symptoms that could be controlled by medication.