Ballard retires, still gets headaches from concussion

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Keith Ballard's career is over – and it pretty much has been for exactly one year.

On Dec. 9, 2014, Ballard took a hit in a game at Xcel Energy Center that left him convulsing on the ice. He was diagnosed with a concussion and facial fractures, putting an end to his 2014 season with the Minnesota Wild and ultimately, an end to his career.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWzQ84UhAkg

According to the Star Tribune, Ballard is officially retiring from the NHL – and still dealing with symptoms from the concussion.

"One day, we were playing tag with the kids outside and I started getting real dizzy and bad headaches. I had to lay down and that seemed to trigger other things," Ballard told the Star Tribune. "Chopping wood one day, I suddenly had to stop."

Wild Xtra's Mike Berg was at the game Ballard was hit hard by Matt Martin of the Islanders, and he described the situation like this:

"What we saw there was disturbing to say the least. I looked down at the ice and saw a group huddled around someone, and when I looked back up to the jumbotron, I briefly saw Don Fuller bent over a player, and that player shaking violently as if in a seizure. (I am not a doctor, so I can only speak to what I saw with my own eyes, it was bad.) The screen went black, and then to a giant Wild logo. The arena was silent, other than a couple “Oh my God” comments from around the arena."

Ballard, the former two-time national champion with the Gophers, is looking ahead to the rest of his life, and walking away from hockey with his long-term health in mind.

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