By: Adam Gretz
Dave Scatchard, an 11-year NHL veteran, announced his retirement with a series of Tweets on Monday and informed his followers that he was calling it a career due to ongoing issues with concussions. Scatchard explained that after a few days of testing at the Mayo Clinic the doctors advised the 35-year-old forward that it would be unsafe for him to continue playing.
Originally a second-round draft pick by the Vancouver Canucks in 1994, Scatchard scored 128 goals in 659 regular season games as a member of the Canucks, Islanders, Bruins, Coyotes, Predators and Blues, playing most recently with St. Louis this past season, appearing in just eight games. He played in just 24 games since the end of the 2006-07 season.
Concussions and head injuries are a hot topic in professional sports right now, especially in the NHL where players like Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Boston's Marc Savard have had longer than expected recoveries from their injuries, while in years past players like Pat LaFontaine and Eric Lindros had their careers end prematurely as a result of concussions they had suffered.
While Scatchard wasn't quite the offensive force those players were, he was still a solid NHL player that still feels like he has something to offer a team and is no longer able to do that.
What the NHL can do to help prevent these injuries is an ongoing topic of debate with no easy solution that would please everybody or completely fix the problem. The game will always carry some amount of risk with injuries being a part of that. And while the league has recently banned blindside hits that target the head (like the one Savard received from Matt Cooke two years ago, starting his string of concussion problems) with Rule 48, there have been some calls -- met with plenty of resistence, of course -- for the league to ban all contact to the head. That doesn't seem to be close to happening, but as long as concussions continue to be a problem -- and as more is learned about them and the effects they have on long-term health -- the debate will continue to rage on.