'Til it's Gone

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'Til its gone - My Retirement

Contributor Bryce Salvador

The slap shot hit me in the face with 53 seconds left in the game. I could actually feel the force of the puck go all the way through my head and then out my right ear. My teammates on the New Jersey Devils immediately rushed over to where I was slumped on the ice. I looked up, bleeding badly from my face, and saw all these blurry red jerseys standing over me. Their mouths were moving, but I couldn’t hear what they were saying. All I heard was a high-pitched ringing.

When I got home that night to my wife and kids, my ears were still ringing. I could barely hear what my wife was saying. Two days later, we played the Rangers. I played 20 minutes and had an assist, but I could hardly hear the crowd. My ears didn’t stop ringing for months, but I finished the rest of the 2009-2010 season. Call it dumb hockey player pride or whatever you want, but the fact of the matter is that we play through pain, even broken bones. My teammates have done it. I’ve done it. In my mind I was hurt, not injured. So I adapted and gritted my way through it....

Read the rest of my story here at The Players' Tribune.

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