Notre Dame linebacker Danny Spond wasn't ready to walk away.
But the 6-foot-2, 248-pound junior had to think about not playing football again after migraine headaches that began in fall camp kept him out of the first two games this season.
"There were times when I would sit there and I would wonder if it would be smartest to come back and play this game. I have to look out for my health," Spond said Wednesday. "But that was very short lived. The love I have for the game and the passion overrode that."
It was a slow process for Spond to return.
He began to work out with the team in a limited role as the Irish prepared for the season opener against Navy.
The next week, as Notre Dame got ready for Purdue, Spond was allowed to practice in full pads.
Then last week, he was cleared by doctors to play, and he dove right in to get ready to play against Michigan State.
"That first week back, having to get physically ready and condition my body, that was probably the most challenging," Spond said. "Going out there and working as hard as I possibly could each day is really what helped me come game day against Michigan State."
Spond was in the starting lineup against the Spartans at outside linebacker, and he finished the 20-3 victory with four tackles.
He is grateful that he gets to continue to play the game he loves as the No. 11 Irish (3-0) play host to No. 18 Michigan (2-1) on Saturday night.
"You don't understand how much you miss something until it is gone. That's pretty cliché, but it's true," Spond said. "When you love something so much and this is your whole life and you work everything each day, all year for it, it is tough. When you finally get that chance to get back out there, it is everything to you."