June 06, 2013

Andy McDonald Retires Due To Fears Of More Concussions

Andy McDonald had suffered five concussions in his NHL career. He suffered the last two in a span of over 10 months and cost him a total of 75 games played. So he is most definitely is an expert on the matter. At least he's knowledgeable enough to know he doesn't want another one.

"The last few years, too much of the focus became worrying about the next hit. I was always thinking about it," he said.

It clearly affected his play. Granted he's 35 years old, but McDonald's production fell off dramatically this past season. He has been a hockey poolie's dream over the years. A very clever offensive player and an excellent skater, he was a consistent and underrated player over the years.

"When the season was initially over, I was intending on playing again," McDonald said. "I was motivated by the results of the season and how I struggled. That was almost driving me to come back and play again. But after stepping back and talking it over with my wife and my family and my friends, it became pretty clear that this is the right decision and the best thing for my health."

In the end McDonald, who admitted "in a lot of ways I was just lying to myself and ignoring some things that were happening," wanted to leave the game he still very much loves on his own terms. He likely is walking away from a final 2 or 3 year multi-million dollar contract offer as an unrestricted free agent this summer. But his health and his family were the most important things to him.

"Nobody wants to move and take your family all over the place, but we're in the NHL and we're paid well for what we do and you accept that when you get into this business. The main reason was my health and thinking about my future and the quality of life for myself and my family."

McDonald said that he will continue to live in St. Louis with his wife, Gina, and his children, Jake (age 5) and Ella (2).

"It's a great place to raise a family and I'm part of a local business here," he said. "I've got a lot to look forward to. I want to spend time with my kids and not get dizzy and have headaches. I'm comfortable with this decision and I'm looking forward to the next part of my life."

An undrafted player, the Strathroy, Ontario native graduated from Colgate University (he studied International Relations) and broke into the NHL as a free agent with Anaheim in 2000. McDonald scored 182 goals and 489 points in 685 career NHL games. He really became a NHL household name in 2007 when he scored a team leading 10 goals to lead the Anaheim Ducks to the Stanley Cup.

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