AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas quarterback David Ash, who missed most of last season with concussion symptoms, will not play this week against BYU after getting headaches and feeling dizzy in the hours following the Longhorns’ season-opening win over North Texas.
Ash took several hard hits to the head in the 38-7 win, but head coach Charlie Strong said Monday that Ash showed no symptoms during the game. Ash called staff to report his symptoms about 90 minutes after the game ended, and the medical staff brought him in for evaluation.
“It shows his toughness. I know how important this football team is to him,” Strong said.
Strong would not speculate whether Ash, who has 22 career starts, could or should try to play again. Ash had insisted that despite from questions from his family, he never seriously considered quitting.
“That’s a decision his family is going to have to make,” Strong said, noting that Ash would have to be cleared by doctors before he can return.
“You have to be concerned, any time you have that number of concussions. We will never jeopardize a young man’s health for the sake of this football team. That will always be the case,” Strong said.
Ash had been cleared by team doctors to return this season and told reporters in training camp about taking that first hit: “Bring it on.”
Strong said Ash noted to staff a blow he took on Texas’ second drive of the game, when he bent low to recover a fumble and a defender crashed into the crown of his helmet.
Ash later ran for a touchdown and passed for another, but also took several more hits to the head, most notably when his helmet twice bounced off the turf after a sack and on his touchdown run.
Strong said he didn’t watch Ash on the sideline after the first hit and again noted that Ash reported no immediate problems to medical staff.
“If it was an issue, I think he would have said it himself. He didn’t say anything about it,” Strong said. “Even I said to him, ‘Hey how’s it going?‘ He said, ‘I’m feeling good. I really like it, I’m really into it.‘”
Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks, who missed much of the last two seasons with injuries, said Ash has to be frustrated by his recurring concussions.
“He’s got to be wondering why him?” Hicks said.
Sophomore Tyrone Swoopes will start for Texas (1-0) against the Cougars (1-0) with freshman Jerrod Heard as the backup. Strong also announced that senior center Dominic Espinosa will miss the rest of the season after breaking a bone in his right ankle.
Swoopes, a sophomore, was 5 of 13 passing for 26 yards last season.
“We have a football team, and we have to go play ... It’s not all about one person. Some other guys have to step up,” Strong said. “Adversity is going to hit.”