Why It's Time For David Ash To Hang Up His Cleats

After suffering multiple head injuries early in 2013, junior quarterback David Ash sat out the final nine games of the season following a concussion against BYU. Despite the setback, Ash spent the entire offseason working out without contact in hopes of returning for the 2014 season.

After suffering a broken ankle that forced him to sit out of spring practice, Ash was hopeful that his health issues were behind him. Many Longhorn faithful, however, feared that it was only a matter of time until Ash suffered an injury.

“Last year is kind of over and gone,” said Ash. “My family and I are people of faith. So I’m looking to the future. My mentality is to have faith that God is in control, and whatever happens is going to happen. I’m not worried about it. I can’t go living my life in fear.”

Unfortunately, his hard work and optimism were not rewarded - Ash complained to the training staff of headaches and dizziness Saturday evening after the win over North Texas. He played into the fourth quarter, but the injury could have occurred on a first-quarter hit to the crown of his helmet.

On Monday, Charlie Strong announced that Ash would not play Saturday against BYU. He refused to comment on the long-term plans for Ash, however, it seems unlikely that he takes another snap as a Longhorn. While Ash's future remains uncertain, Coach Strong made one thing very clear in his press conference.

“You have to be concerned any time you have that number of concussions,” Strong said. “You’re always concerned about the young man’s health. You would never jeopardize the young man’s health just for your football team.”

Without Ash, the Longhorns will look to sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes to lead them against BYU this weekend. Last year, Swoopes was mostly used in garbage time and owns only 26 career passing yards. However, the Longhorns staff and players seem confident in his ability, and are excited to show to the fans what the offense has in store.

“I’m telling y’all, the dude can play. You better be ready,” WR Jaxon Shipley said on Swoopes.

There is life after football, and all players come to find that at some point. With all the injuries he's sustained over the past few years at Texas, it's time for David Ash to start his next chapter. The risks to his health are very real and very serious, and the possible consequences far outweigh any benefits that would come from continuing to play. The Longhorns have a backup QB ready to take the reins, and it makes no sense for Ash to put his long-term health on the line.

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