Paul Kariya last played in the NHL during the 2009-10 season after sitting out last season with post-concussion syndrome. Although the 35-year-old says he's now healthy, he has announced his retirement rather than risk sustaining another brain injury. Kariya scored 402 goals and registered 989 points over his illustrious NHL career, but he leaves the game obviously feeling as though enough has not been done to keep players safe:
"The thing that I worry about," Kariya said in an interview, "is that you’ll get a guy who is playing with a concussion, and he gets hit, and he dies at centre ice. Can you imagine what would happen to the league if a guy dies at centre ice?"
Kariya said he suffered his first concussion in 1996. In 1998, a hit by Gary Suter that forced him to miss the Olympics that year. His most recent concussion occurred in December 2009 and caused him to miss six games.
During his interview with the Toronto Globe and Mail, Kariya accused the league of not taking the injury serious enough and pointed to the fact that there was no suspension following the hit that caused his last concussion. He also suggested that punishing players may not be the most effective way to get limit concussions:
"If you start at 10-game suspensions and go to 20, that sends a message to the players. But if you start fining the owners and suspending the coach, then it’s out of the game."