St. Louis Blues forward Andy McDonald is retiring at age 35 due to multiple concussions.
"When the season was initially over, I was intending on playing again," McDonald said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "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."
According to the Post-Dispatch, McDonald has sustained at least five concussions in his career. A head injury cost him 24 games in 2010-11, and another knocked him out for 51 games the following season.
"The last few years too much of the focus became worrying about the next hit. I was always thinking about it," McDonald told TrueHockey.com. "I'm fortunate to get out now. I know I could play two or three more years and I love the game of hockey, but health-wise I know I shouldn't be playing."
McDonald spent 12 seasons in the NHL, the first 5 1/2 with the Anaheim Ducks and the remainder with the Blues. He helped the Ducks capture the 2007 Stanley Cup. In 685 games, McDonald scored 182 goals and compiled 307 assists.
This season, McDonald finished with seven goals and 14 assists in 37 games. The best season of his career was 2005-06, when he had 34 goals and 54 assists for Anaheim.
"It's unfortunate the injury is going to force him to retirement," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told ESPN The Magazine. "But when I look back at what he accomplished, where he came from, becoming a Stanley Cup champion and a dynamic player with upper-echelon speed -- he did what we all hope to do, he maximized his talent."