HOUSTON -- Head injuries on the football field, the fear of parents at every level, have resulted in a rare move at a Division 1 university. Multiple concussions will force the end of quarterback David Piland’s career, the Houston Cougars announced Tuesday.
Piland suffered a concussion in a game against SMU last year. A few weeks ago, he suffered another one.
"David has given everything he’s had to the University of Houston and our football program,” said Houston head coach Tony Levine. “He has been a model student-athletes and a valued leader for us. He has handled everything with class and will continue to be a major part of our program. David’s health and well-being is our top priority, and we respect the decision of our medical staff.”
University sources said Piland experienced concussion-related symptoms for several days, and spent a week isolated in a dark room to avoid any bright lights.
"We've had extensive meetings, both he and I, and certainly with our medical staff," Levine said.
Piland closed his career at Houston ranked seventh on the career charts for passing yards (5,790), completions (478), pass attempts (833), touchdown passes (41), touchdowns responsible for (43) and total offense (6,039).
“One of my lifelong dreams and goals has been to play quarterback at the collegiate level and thanks to the University of Houston, I’ve been able to accomplish one of my dreams and meet one of my goals,” said Piland. “It was not easy to hear that I can no longer play the game that I love, but I know that our medical staff has my best interests in mind. I will always cherish my time on the field and my time at the University of Houston.”
He had played in two games this season, completing 21-of-40 passes for 220 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. Piland also had five carries for 31 yards as he helped lead Houston to its two opening wins en route to its current 4-0 record.
Some students called the university's decision a little harsh.
"I can't imagine something that I love being taking away from me so early," said one student shuttling between classes.
But another student said the University’s action seemed justified.
“I think they did a good thing just to be on the safe side,” he said.
Some of Piland’s teammates also agreed with the move.
"It's just difficult for us as a team because we all came in together,” said cornerback Zachory McMillian. “And we didn't think it would end like that. And we have to play every play like it's your last."
University officials said even though Piland can no longer play, he’ll maintain his football scholarship and remain on the team, traveling to games and attending practices.
Piland, who is from Southlake, Texas, is expected to graduate from the school in December.