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NHL Careers Ended by Concussions

Pat LaFontaine
Photo: Bruce Bennett Studios, J Giamundo/Getty Images; AP

Pat LaFontaine

The center's Hall of Fame career was ended by the effects of six concussions sustained during his 15 seasons in the NHL. The first occurred as an Islander in a 1990 playoff game when he was knocked unconscious by a hit from the Rangers' James Patrick, the last when he collided with Mike Keane in March 1998. He also missed almost the entire 1996-97 season after hitting his head on the ice and being knocked out by a hard check from Francois Leroux of the Penguins. LaFontaine, who scored 468 career goals, was only 33 when he played his last NHL game. "A neurologist at the Mayo Clinic asked me, 'Did it feel like someone came along and ripped all the motivation and personality out of you?' That was exactly what happened to me," LaFontaine told The Sporting News. "I remember being scared because for the first month after my fifth concussion, I was very depressed at times. I wouldn't want to come out of my room. My wife was really scared because the littlest things would set me off."

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