Spond's season of triumph

MIAMI -- Don Spond still remembers the voice message he received from Notre Dame's trainers in early August.

They told him his son, Fighting Irish linebacker Danny Spond, had been injured in practice, and he needed to call them as quickly as possible.

"It was very scary," Don said. "When we first talked to the trainers, they said he had a closed-head injury and bleeding on the brain. They said it was possibly career-ending and life-threatening. It was definitely scary for mom and dad. It was much more important than football."

After Danny, a junior from Littleton, Colo., told trainers the left side of his body was completely numb during a morning practice on Aug. 8, they weren't entirely sure what was wrong with him. They watched tape of Notre Dame's practice to see if Spond was suffering from a concussion but didn't see a head-to-head collision. They even wondered if he was having a stroke.

"It was a normal practice for me," Danny said. "It was a normal day for me. It was a morning practice and about halfway through the practice, I started noticing some tingling sensation in my face. It worked its way down the whole left side of my body. Eventually, I just lost control."

When Don talked to his son on the telephone the next day, he knew something was seriously wrong. Danny's speech was slurred, and he didn't sound like himself. Notre Dame's doctors assured him it was because of medication, but Danny's parents still feared the worst.

To read the full story from Mark Schlabach, click here.