Colorado spring football practices ended Tuesday with another goodbye from a player who has decided to give up the sport rather than risking another concussion.

Linebacker Kyle Washington saw some of his teammates for the first time in weeks at the Dal Ward Center before the last practice of spring. Washington did not participate in spring drills this year because of the lingering effects of concussions he suffered last fall and also because of several other difficult developments in his life.

Washington's mother, Tammy, suffered a heart attack three weeks ago and underwent open heart surgery. Also, one of Washington's friends recently died of overdose.

All of those events have taken a toll on him academically this semester in addition to his medical problems. He is leaning toward medically withdrawing from school this spring to avoid any bad marks on his record.

"It's real hard," Washington said of the realization that his football career is over. "Everybody comes in with the thought of possibly going to the league and having that taken away from you kind of makes things a lot harder. You kind of sit back and wonder who you are. You kind of lose some status, you lose everything that you thought you had really."

Washington played in 15 games during his career and made a total of 27 tackles on defense. He also contributed on special teams earning a total of 21 special teams points. He returned six kickoffs for 89 yards during his freshman year.

Washington said he suffered a concussion during a kickoff in a loss to Arizona State on Oct. 11. He missed the next four games because of injury but Washington said he practiced despite still experiencing concussion symptoms. He returned to play in the final two games of the year, having never fully recovered.

In an odd coincidence, Washington is roommates with another Buff, Will Harlos, who medically retired last season because of numerous concussions. Harlos also played through concussion symptoms at CU during the 2011 season without reporting them to team athletic trainers or coaches.

Washington and Harlos actually came to CU on the same recruiting visit in 2010 and joined the program in the same recruiting class in 2011 at the same position -- safety.

Washington said he was aware of the risks of continuing to play despite knowing he wasn't fully healthy, but he chose to do because of his love for the game.

"You just want to play," he said. "I mean, you work so hard in the offseason and then you hurt yourself and those games that you're out it kind of seems a little ridiculous. You feel like you're OK, especially as a football player, you feel like you're OK. That's what the sport is so."

That attitude began to change in the offseason during winter conditioning workouts when Washington realized he was still suffering concussion symptoms. He said he experienced blurry vision, became light-headed and felt like he was going to fall during those workouts. He also wasn't sleeping well and had nearly constant headaches.

Washington has been seeing a concussion specialist and says he only now beginning to get back to normal. He said he was testing well below normal when he first began seeing the specialist and is now testing at average levels. The intensity of his concussion symptoms also has subsided.

Harlos chose to medically retire and remain on scholarship at CU. It will allow him to earn a valuable CU degree. Washington said he is wrestling with whether to do the same or transfer to an NAIA school closer to in Southern California where he said he has the opportunity to play basketball on scholarship. He still has a thirst to compete.

He averaged 22 points, six rebounds and four assists playing basketball for his high school during his senior season.

"That's probably where I'm going to end up trying to lean to cause it's hard to not play anything," he said. "It's easy to get grades when you have to to compete because that's your passion, but when you don't have to you ... When you have a busy schedule you know where everything fits, but when you have so much free time, you feel like you're a little bit less constructive."

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @KyleRingo