Olympian Amanda Kessel will not play for the University of Minnesota this season due to “lingering concussion symptoms due to injuries sustained as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team,” the university’s athletic office said Wednesday.
Kessel suffered a concussion leading up to the Sochi Olympics, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Kessel, the younger sister of NHL All-Star and Olympian Phil Kessel, scored three goals with three assists in helping the U.S. to a second straight Olympic silver medal in Sochi.
“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 press release. “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% 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.”
Kessel did not play in the U.S.’ series of lead-up games against international opponents last fall due to an undisclosed lower-body injury, it was reported in December. She did play in games against boys teams, though.
Kessel said in Sochi she had been hampered by a hip injury that may have been related to torn labrum surgery in 2012. She reinjured it before the U.S.’ Bring on the World tour that started in October.
There were no reports that spread, if any, of a Kessel concussion going into or coming out of the Sochi Olympics.
“We knew she wasn’t at full strength the last couple of months,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said, according to the newspaper.
Kessel visited a brain institute in Atlanta headed by the same doctor who worked with Sidney Crosby and two-time U.S. Olympic medalist Caitlin Cahow after their concussions.
Kessel won the 2012-13 NCAA Player of the Year award as part of Minnesota’s 41-0-0 NCAA champion team and missed the 2013-14 season to play for the U.S. National Team. She was to play her senior season for the Gophers this year.