The Texas Longhorns will finish the 2013 season without starting quarterback David Ash after the school revealed on Monday morning that the training staff has recommended that the Belton product not play again this season.
"David has been treated and evaluated by our medical staff daily for a recurrence of concussion symptoms and also visited with and received feedback from specialists," said head trainer Kenny Boyd in a statement. "Though he's made a lot of progress, we have not been able to clear him to return to competition."
"Due to the duration of symptoms, we are now at a point that we all believe the best approach for him is to not return this season. We've visited with David and his family and are all in agreement on his not returning to action as the best next step in his recovery. We will continue to treat him and watch his progress closely and expect this will allow him ample time to return to full health and participation for the spring season."
If Ash receives a medical redshirt as expected and receives another year of eligibility, he will have two seasons remaining when he rejoins the team in the spring.
However, the fact that his concussion symptoms are still recurring now two and a half months since the original concussion was suffered against BYU in early September and more than two months since Ash last played in the first half of the game against Kansas State on September 21 is cause for serious concern.
The last update from head coach Mack Brown came the week before the Oklahoma State game when Brown indicated that Ash goes seven or eight days with no symptoms and then would suffer a headache. Since early November, Ash has been out at practice throwing the football, though he has not actually practiced since prior to the Kansas State game.
The hope is that more time will help those symptoms subside. Otherwise, the prognosis for Texas football significantly decreases if his career is over, as Texas is set to have only three scholarship quarterbacks on campus next fall if Ash does not return and redshirt freshman Jalen Overstreet has been moving back and forth between quarterback and running back this fall.
And despite burning the redshirt on Tyrone Swoopes, the Horns haven't gotten him much playing time for Case McCoy's back up, raising significant questions about the usage of Swoopes, especially since he may have to compete for the starting role next season with incoming freshman Jerrod Heard, though Ash's progress over the next several weeks, or lack thereof, may force the team to explore graduate transfer possibilities with a junior college quarterback seeming unlikely due to a lack of viable options.
The long-term prognosis for Ash from the team seems quite positive, with Brown talking about Ash being back full speed in the spring, but this saga is far from over and won't truly have resolution until he plays in a game again and can take some hits without those headaches coming back.
And right now, that's a long way away, both in terms of time and in terms of what has to happen until them for Ash to return to the field.