SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Talk about determined. Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist finished off an opening scoring drive against Michigan last week even though he couldn’t see out of his right eye.
Crist acknowledged Wednesday he had no vision in the eye and was groggy before capping a 71-yard scoring drive that gave the Irish an early lead. His 1-yard TD run came seven plays after a hit from a helmet during a 19-yard run led to the blurred vision.
After the touchdown, Crist sat out the rest of the first half. After he was cleared to play when doctors determined it was not a concussion and his vision had cleared, he led the Irish to 17 second-half points in their 28-24 loss.
Crist said Wednesday he’s fully recovered and not worried about being hurt again. He said he is ready for Saturday night’s game at Michigan State (2-0).
“After I initially took the hit, I tried to shake it off. …But then physically I could not see … It was blurry to the point where I couldn’t see anything out of my right eye,” he said
“After that, we just pushed through it and tried to finish the drive. Then when everything was done, it all kind of hit me. That’s when the trainers identified it and wanted to pull me off for a second.”
Crist, who had a concussion in high school, said medical personnel were very meticulous in determining that he was OK to go back into the game.
“Obviously while it was going on we wanted to identify what it was and make sure that we handled it the right way, making sure that I was in a safe predicament,” he said. “Doctors took special care that I was safe to play, everything was OK. I passed multiple tests and then follow-ups after that. So, again, I’m not worried about it. I’m just worried about Michigan State right now and just moving on and wanting to get back out on the field.”
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly stressed that Crist was given the medical go-ahead to play, didn’t have a concussion and his vision has cleared up or we wouldn’t have been reinserted in the game for the second half.
Kelly said Notre Dame (1-1) was ready to go back on the field for its second series when it became apparent Crist wasn’t himself.
“We had just got clearance from the TV to take the field. We were under a minute. That’s when he said, ‘Coach, I just don’t remember this play,”‘ Kelly said. “You know, again, you could look at him and you could tell that he wasn’t fully in charge. So that’s when we made the decision to make the change.”
The Irish had to play the rest of the half with backups Tommy Rees and Nate Montana.
Crist said some of the fogginess was apparently revealed after a phone call with offensive coordinator Charley Molnar. He either “couldn’t understand” some of the conversation or it “was going a little quickly.”
Crist said the concussion he got in high school was a much more severe situation.
“In high school, the next thing I remember was waking up in bed the next morning, so I don’t have a lot of recollection of that one,” Crist said.
When Crist returned to last Saturday’s game, he threw a pair of TD passes, including a 95-yard hookup with tight end Kyle Rudolph. He promises last week’s situation won’t affect how he plays in East Lansing.
And if the Irish play their spread offense the way it is designed, he is going to have to carry the ball on occasion and take a lick.
“As soon as you start thinking about those things it seems like that’s what ends up happening,” Crist said. “So really you’ve just got to go out there and play and execute what you’re asked to do.”
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