Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Keith Ballard Retires from Hockey a Year after Final Concussion

33-year-old Keith Ballard will retire from hockey after a 10-year, 604-game NHL career reports Mike Russo of the Star Tribune.

Read Russo's Full Article on Ballard Here

Ballard's announcement comes exactly one year after a scary hit from Matt Martin of the New York Islanders led to his fifth concussion at the Xcel Energy Center. Ballard left that game with three facial fractures and to this day he hasn't fully recovered. Still experiencing post-concussion symptoms, Ballard has taken up the task of finishing his college education at the University of Minnesota.

The former Golden Gopher standout tells Russo that he's getting better with the "day-to-day" stuff, but he doesn't want to think of what might happen if he suffered another similar injury on the ice.

"I didn't want to retire at this time, but with the bigger picture in mind, it was a no-brainer," Ballard said. "You look at so many athletes and they struggle for so long and I don't want that to be me. I want to live a healthy life, be there for my wife and kids."

Known for his hip check and his energetic defense, shot-blocking and puck carrying, Ballard put up 38-137-175 in ten NHL seasons that saw him play for the Coyotes, Panthers, Canucks and Wild.