Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, who hasn't played a game in nearly 16 months, gave his first in-depth interview since that final game with Sportsnet, the first part of which will air Wednesday.
Pronger sustained a serious eye injury Oct. 24, 2011 when he was hit in the face by the stick of the Toronto Maple Leafs' Nikolai Kulemin. Pronger returned after two weeks and played five more games before leaving the lineup for good after a game against the Winnipeg Jets on Nov. 19, 2011. On Dec. 15 of that year, the Flyers announced Pronger would miss the rest of the 2011-12 season due to concussion issues.
In the interview with Sportsnet's Dan Murphy, Pronger said a loss of peripheral vision is one of his major ailments.
"What happened was, I had 30-year-old eyes," Pronger is quoted as saying in a partial transcript of the interview on Sportsnet's website. "I got hit and the doctor told me I had 60-year-old eyes. I don’t have very good peripheral vision. That so-called sixth sense? I used to have a really good one. Now, I couldn't feel anyone coming around a corner. My kids scare me all the time.
"That used to be what I was known for, knowing where everybody was, having a feel for who was around me. Now I don’t have that."
Pronger, who has moved back to the St. Louis area with his wife and three children, said he's getting better but is limited in his daily activities.
"It's gotten a little better," he's quoted as saying in the interview. "I can leave the house and go do stuff. If I do too much, I may get a headache. Occasionally, if I start to feel a bit better and I do a bit more, I get nauseous."
Pronger, 38, is in the third year of a seven-year contract that runs through the end of the 2016-17 season. He doesn't mention retirement in a promotional excerpt from the televised interview, but does skirt the issue, saying: "Everyone wants to go out like a John Elway, where he wins two Super Bowls and retires on his own terms. Very, very few people get a chance to do that. I'm comfortable where I'm at in the game and my place within the game and what I've been able to accomplish. I don't have any regrets. I played the game to the best of my abilities and the best I knew how. If it is [the end], it is, and if it's not, we'll see."
The second part of Pronger's interview will air on Sportsnet on Thursday.
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