Ottawa Senators winger Clarke MacArthur hasn’t suited up since mid-October, and now he has officially been shutdown for the remainder of the campaign.
The Senators announced Monday that MacArthur, 30, will not play again this season even though he has finally passed concussion testing and would be medically cleared to return for any of Ottawa’s final contests. The decision, the Senators said in a statement, was made by management and team doctors, and it doesn’t come as much of a shock.
In an interview with the Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren, MacArthur opened up about his battle with concussions throughout this campaign, and admitted that thoughts of retirement entered his mind while he was trying to battle back.
“At one point in late November, early December, I was thinking I was done, maybe this is it,” MacArthur told Warren. “I had to get out of there. Every day you’re coming to the rink and you want to go on the ice. It’s like going to Disneyland. Everyone else goes on the rides and you’re outside the doors, watching.”
MacArthur hasn’t played since an Oct. 14 game against Columbus. Midway through the second period, MacArthur was skating through the neutral zone, tripped over Blue Jackets winger Brandon Saad, fell to the ice and remained down for a brief moment before heading to the bench. MacArthur told Warren that he remembers nothing of exiting the ice, nor does he remember being helped to the dressing room. The last thing he recalls is having an eye exam.
“Whatever I did with that hit in Columbus, all the vestibular (which controls balance) went to hell in a handbag,” MacArthur told Warren. “Focusing on anything was just painful.”
That wasn’t the first time he had been concussed this season, though, and MacArthur told Warren his battle with concussions this campaign began in the pre-season when he was caught with a hit from teammate Mark Fraser. MacArthur told Warren he hid his symptoms from the Senators’ training staff following that game in hopes they would go away before the regular season opened.
MacArthur admitted his game was struggling heading into the Oct. 14 contest, and told Warren that he was planning on informing the medical staff of his complications following the game against the Blue Jackets. His collision with Saad, and subsequent collision with the ice, took the decision to inform the medical staff out of MacArthur’s hands.
It wasn’t until Jan. 7 that MacArthur got back on the ice, but upon returning a new symptom popped up. MacArthur had vertigo, he told Warren, and felt like he was “floating around.” Recovering from that took another month, at which point MacArthur was ready to take his concussion baseline test. He failed the test, however, which meant he had to wait three weeks before undergoing testing once again.
Even though he’s now cleared testing, the decision by MacArthur and the Ottawa staff is one that will give him an additional six months to recover from any symptoms that may be lingering, even if they’re only the slightest aches or pains. The Senators are eight points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and there’s no point risking MacArthur’s health. But come October, the hope is to see a symptom-free MacArthur back in the Senators’ lineup.