“My number one priority is my health, and I hope that I’ll be able to return to the ice in the future. I want to thank my coaches, teammates and everyone at the university for their support.”- Amanda Kessel
Amanda Kessel has one season of NCAA eligibility remaining at University of Minnesota, and right now it is unknown when she can return to the ice in Minneapolis.
The school announced today that due to a concussion she suffered prior to the 2014 Sochi games Kessel will miss the entire 2014-15 season due to lingering effects of the concussion. She was cleared to play in Sochi, where she scored three goals to go along with three assists in six Olympic games where the Americans won the silver medal. She didn’t play for Minnesota last season either, as she spent the season training and playing with the Women’s National Team.
“I’ve had an unforgettable experience at the University of Minnesota thus far, so I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to return to the team this year,” Kessel said in a statement. “It’s obviously a difficult decision and one that I’ve taken time to come to terms with. As someone who has played through a lot of injuries, it wasn’t until suffering a concussion that I fully understood the importance of being 100 percent healthy when I’m on the ice. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case right now.
“My number one priority is my health, and I hope that I’ll be able to return to the ice in the future. I want to thank my coaches, teammates and everyone at the university for their support.”
This isn’t the first time Gophers coach Brad Frost has lost a player due to concussions as he has lost three players in the last five seasons. Modern medicine and technology could play a role due to athletic trainers and medical staff taking a more proactive approach when it comes to removing players from the sport when concussion symptoms appear. “We knew she wasn’t at full strength the last couple of months,” Frost said. “It’s best for her to try and recover away from college and we’ve been planning for that. Any time you lose arguably the top player in the country it makes it more difficult, but now we can focus on the players and team that we have and make a run at a national championship.”
In three years with the Gophers, she emerged as one of the best college players in the nation. She won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial as a junior in 2012-13 when she led women’s college hockey in scoring with 101 points (46 goals, 55 assists) and helped lead her team to its fifth national championship during a perfect 41-0-0 season. She ranks fourth among Gophers all-time scorers with 231 points.