Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook announced he is stepping away from the game of hockey Friday, and he says that persistent hip injuries led him to the tough decision to leave behind the sport he played for 15 seasons at the highest level.
In a media availability Friday, Seabrook revealed the struggles he had gone through in trying to rehab his hip injury, saying that he could potentially require a hip replacement later in his life now that his hockey career is over.
“I skated with the taxi squad Saturday morning and it was tough,” he said. “It was hard to skate, and keep up. I was skating for three weeks prior and it was a battle. It never gave me anything. It never got better. I would skate for five minutes and it would lock up.”
Seabrook says the Saturday workout was an eye-opening experience and ultimately led to his decision to step away from the game. He says it was just the latest incident involving the hip that had troubled him for several years, and that he realized that his body had finally had enough.
“I told my body to screw off for 15 years, and it finally turned around and said ‘I’m not going to do it anymore,’” he recalled. ”I had an X-ray yesterday and the one side has zero cartilage. It was throwing darts at a dartboard trying to figure out what was going to get me back skating and playing.”
Seabrook, who underwent surgeries on both hips over the last year, says that he had been working out throughout the offseason in an attempt to get back onto the ice.
“I felt the best that I’d ever felt coming into training camp for the bubble. I felt incredible,” he recalled. “(After working out) I didn’t think I could play to the level that I needed to help the team in the playoffs, so that was my decision on going back and continuing to rehab.”
Following the decision not to play in Edmonton, Seabrook had more starts and stops, saying he woke up unable to walk the Monday before Christmas.
It was all of these setbacks that ultimately led Seabrook to step away, and he says that he could potentially face a hip replacement surgery in the coming years.
“They’ve talked about a hip replacement. I don’t know if that’s tomorrow or 10 years from now. I think the plan is to manage it with doctors and try to live a great life. I want to go skiing with my kids and coach my kids,” he said.
Even with everything he’s been through in recent years, Seabrook says he wouldn’t change anything about his 15 years with the Blackhawks.
“I’ve got no regrets,” he said. “I’m proud of the way I did things. I’m proud of my career.”