Oct. 25, 2011
East Lansing, Mich. - Head Coach Tom Anastos has announced that junior Zach Golembiewski (St. Clair, Mich.) has come to a decision to end his Michigan State hockey career on the advice of medical professionals. Golembiewski's doctors have advised the junior to cease his participation in a contact/collision sport due to a back issue.
"We are obviously disappointed in learning the news that Zach's injury will prevent him from continuing his playing career at Michigan State, yet grateful that it has been identified so that he will not be exposed to any long-term health risks," said Anastos. " We are fully supportive of Zach's decision to end his competitive hockey career. Zach will continue to be a member of our team in some capacity, which will be determined over the next several days."
"This was a tough decision. It was a struggle at first, because you put 12, 13 years into your passion, and all of a sudden, someone's advising you that it's best that you give up what you love," said Golembiewski. "Playing at Michigan State was first a goal, then it became a dream come true. I am so blessed to have been able to wear the green and white jersey and be a part of this program.
I need to thank our athletic trainer, Dave Carrier, and our team physician, Dr. Bob Norris. They helped me so much in this process, and the entire medical staff at Michigan State was great to me throughout. I have to also thank the coaching staff - Coach [Tom] Newton recruited me, and has been a great asset to me over these past three years. Coach Anastos and Coach [Kelly] Miller have been incredibly supportive and helpful in this process as well. Their concern was what was best for me long-term."
Golembiewski, a winger who appeared in 56 career games over two seasons, injured his back over the summer, and it was not responding to treatment. While pursuing more information and testing under the direction of team athletic trainers and physicians, Golembiewski received a diagnosis which revealed that the injury was not healing due to an underlying condition, and subsequent advice from specialists led to his decision.
Larger issues lied in wait if he would continue to receive the jarring hits endured during a competitive hockey game. Golembiewski is expected to lead a fully functional life in which he can still participate in athletic endeavors, including pick up/shinny (non-contact) hockey, as well as pursue his passion for golf.