Notre Dame linebacker Spond's playing career done

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Associated Press

Posted on August 17, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 17 at 4:03 PM

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame linebacker Danny Spond told his teammates Saturday his playing days are over because of an unspecified medical issue, coach Brian Kelly said.

The senior from Littleton, Colo., plans to release a statement next week.

"I think what's most important is he did what's in his best interest for his future," the coach said. "He's got a bright future and his immediate (future) is that he wants to be with the team. Our teammates were excited to hear that he's going to be with us every day."

Spond, 6-foot-2 and 248-pounds, had a health scare last preseason when he was struck with a debilitating headache so severe doctors were concerned he may have had a stroke. He was diagnosed with semi-hemiplegic migraine, which involves pain so intense part of the body shuts down. He was hospitalized four days and underwent rehabilitation to learn to walk again.

At practice Saturday, Spond was walking with a cane. He started the final 11 games last season at outside linebacker after missing the first two games because of his rehabilitation, finishing with 39 tackles. Kelly said Spond will stay with the 14th-ranked Irish during the season and work with some of the younger linebackers.

"He's beloved by our team, so he has a special place on our football team," Kelly said.

Sophomore Ben Councell and blue-chip freshman Jaylon Smith are competing to replace Spond.

Kelly also announced Tony Springmann, a 6-6, 284-pound defensive lineman injured his left knee and is expected to miss the opener against Temple on Aug. 31. Kelly said Springmann needs to have an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.

Also, running back Will Mahone is expected to miss up to two weeks with a high ankle sprain. Freshman linebacker Doug Randolph will miss the season after shoulder surgery.

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