David Ash: 'Awesome days ahead'

AUSTIN, Texas -- After three difficult weeks of contemplation, David Ash is ready to move on from football and begin the rest of his life.

The former Texas Longhorns quarterback held a 25-minute news conference Monday and offered his first public comments since his concussion symptoms returned after an Aug. 30 win against North Texas.

He explained why, after consulting with Texas coach Charlie Strong and team doctors, he knew he needed to stop playing in the interest of his health and future.

"I'm at peace with that. God has given me a peace," Ash said. "I have a lot of hope and a lot of belief that there's still awesome days ahead for me."

Ash said he experienced headaches for seven or eight days after the 38-7 victory over North Texas, his first game since September 2013. That painful week brought some needed closure.

"At the core of my heart of hearts," Ash said, "I knew I shouldn't be playing."

Ash reported his concussion-related symptoms to Texas trainers in the hours after beating North Texas. He watched film of that game later and could tell he wasn't playing like normal.

"The real deal about the North Texas game is, I really didn't get hit," Ash said. "I didn't get a vicious blow."

Ash still has not disclosed how many concussions he suffered in the past year beyond the first one, which occurred late in a Sept. 6, 2013, loss at BYU. He has not experienced memory loss and is hopeful he's done dealing with those symptoms.

Still, the process of accepting he must retire was difficult. Team doctors told Ash that, if he were their son, they wouldn't let him play.

"It's been hard," he said. "I've met my quota for crying for the next 10 years."

Strong announced Ash's decision after meeting with him last Wednesday. He finished with a 15-7 record in his starts, and though he wanted to achieve more, he insisted, "I'm not a victim. I'm a victor."

"I had a lot of dreams and a lot of goals, goals I still believe fully that, if I would've remained healthy, I would've accomplished," Ash said. "But there's still so much good life out there besides football.

"Maybe I'll get a girlfriend. Who knows? There's all kinds of possibilities."

Ash spent five minutes of his news conference thanking his friends, family, coaches and fans and discussing his faith. He said he heard from the likes of Kevin Durant, Mack Brown, Archie and Cooper Manning, countless Texas fans and even some Oklahomans last week once the news of his retirement spread.

The junior will finish his degree in December and plans to remain in school another year thanks to a medical scholarship. He'll continue to work with Tyrone Swoopes and Texas' quarterbacks in meetings to help them prepare, too.

He's not sure what he'll pursue next, but Ash is beginning to get excited about his new, football-free future. His career got cut short, but he's thankful for the years he did get.

"I've played quarterback on one of the premier stages in college football," Ash said. "I've experienced a lot of things that people everywhere desire to experience, and it's been really fun. I can't begin to say what a blessing it's been."