South Bend -- Senior Danny Spond is a calendar year removed from a migraine-related medical condition that threatened to end his football career. But less than a month after suffering temporary paralysis during his hospital stay, Spond rebounded to become a vital cog in Notre Dame's run to the BCS Championship game and one of the program's pleasant surprises in its undefeated regular season.
Noticeably impaired and using a cane at today's open practice, the versatile drop linebacker has officially decided to stop playing football for medical reasons.
Spond spoke to the team today prior to practice. He'll release an official statement next week.
"What was pretty apparent was that it was an emotional decision and it didn't come without a lot of thought," said head coach Brian Kelly. "He spent the day speaking to a lot of specialists. His family was here. Not a decision that came easy. He loves his teammates and did what's in the best interest for his future.
Kelly added Spond would remain with the team to tutor his former position mates, the drop linebackers. "His immediate future is he will be with and travel with the team," he said.
Springmann Out Indefinitely
Sidelined today, noticeably limping and out of uniform was junior defensive end Tony Springmann, a bulky, black left knee brace his only equipment other than his customary No. 69 jersey.
"We'll have an MRI and get further information. Any time there's a knee involved you're always concerned. I'll give you more definitive information next time we get together. That one is one we're probably a little more concerned with right now. "
Joining Springmann on the potentially severe injury list was redshirt-freshman running back Will Mahone, his ankle in a boot that covered his knee as well.
"A high ankle sprain, you know how those go," Kelly said. "Two weeks, 10 days maybe. He's in jeopardy (for the Temple contest). He moved around pretty well this morning in the pool. I think he's going to be close but it's a high ankle sprain."
Also out today were left guard Chris Watt (reportedly a concussion), right guard Conor Hanratty (neck), freshman offensive lineman John Montelus (off-season shoulder surgery), and running back Cam McDaniel (undisclosed). Each from that group appears close to returning per Kelly, but the injured Irish list didn't end there.
"We're going to do corrective surgery on (Doug) Randolph's shoulder. He had a pre-existing condition in his shoulder so he will not play this year."
Both Randolph and sophomore safety Nicky Baratti will have shoulder surgery this week, their seasons over with a medical redshirt and thus fifth season of eligibility likely.
Joining the fray for the first time was freshman offensive lineman Colin McGovern (November 2012 knee surgery). Kelly added that his McGovern's fellow freshman Montelus has made "outstanding progress" in his recovery.
Senior wide receiver Daniel Smith has dressed in pads during each media viewing but not participated in contact. "We expect him next week to be cleared full go," said Kelly.