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David Ash Walks Away From Football

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If you thought Longhorn football couldn’t bear any more bad news after head coach Charlie Strong dismissed eight players and the team suffered two heartbreaking losses, you were wrong.

Junior quarterback David Ash has announced that he will no longer pursue football as a career due to the numerous concussions and concussion-related injuries he’s suffered over the past two seasons. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Coach Strong broke the news after Wednesday’s practice and said that he told Ash, “There was no way we were going to let you back onto the field.”

Ash was awarded a medical redshirt after sustaining at least one concussion in 2013, missing most of the season with lingering concussion symptoms, and was cleared for contact this January for the 2014 season. He missed most of the spring with a broken left foot and took a hard hit to the head while recovering a fumble in the season opener against North Texas. Hours after the game, some familiar concussion symptoms returned and Strong announced Ash would miss the BYU game the following week. He never took the field again.

“We just decided that because of his health, the number one concern for all of us, he is no longer going to play football,” Strong said, adding that Ash approached him to talk about his decision.

Although he’ll no longer play, Ash will still be a part of the program, Strong says. He will act as an assistant quarterback coach, helping mentor the Horns’ young quarterbacks. Tyrone Swoopes, who showed potential versus BYU and UCLA, will likely retain the starting position he was thrust into in Ash’s absence. According to the Daily Texan, Strong said there is no plan to burn freshman Jerrod Heard’s redshirt, but that he will still act as Swoopes’ backup.

Ash will finish his career with 22 starts, 385 completions, 31 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions, as well as a 62.1 pass completion rate and a 138.41 total quarterback rating. He went 19-for-34 against North Texas in the Horns’ season opener, throwing for 190 yards and racking up both a passing and a rushing touchdown despite taking some serious hits from the Mean Green defense. After the game, he called the team’s trainers, complaining of concussion-like symptoms, signaling the beginning of the end.

It’s disappointing to see concussions and injury derail what was a promising, possibly NFL-caliber career, especially when it happens to a player so young. What would be even more disappointing, however, would be seeing Ash permanently injure himself because he didn’t walk away. It’s a terrible situation, but it’s the right choice.

Best of luck, Dash.

Photo courtesy UT Athletics.

 

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