Michigan State’s Carney forced to retire due to neck injury

Michigan State defenseman Branden Carney, who fractured two vertebrae at practice on Nov. 3, 2011, has chosen to end his hockey career on the advice of medical professionals.

Carney fractured his C1 and C2 vertebrae when he went head-first into the dasher boards during drills. He was transported to Sparrow Hospital for treatment and was immediately (and has continued for the last 13 months) under the care of Dr. Charles Bill, a Sparrow neurosurgeon.

“Obviously, getting that final word that I cannot play again was difficult,” said Carney in a news release. “I’ve had some time to think about it since my appointment and it’s been a blessing that I have been able to be able to play the game that I love for as long as I did.”

“Our program has been committed to support Branden and his family as he has gone through the recovery process,” added MSU coach Tom Anastos. “This news is obviously a disappointment to all of us. However, in the big picture, Branden will, as I understand it, lead a full life in which he can participate in normal, everyday activities, as well as participate in non-contact recreational sports. Many people who have sustained a similar injury have not been as fortunate to experience such a recovery, so in spite of the disappointing news that Branden’s playing career is over, we’re thrilled that Branden has made such a remarkable recovery.

“Branden is a part of this program and the Michigan State hockey family and this medical decision will not change that. Branden is a Spartan and we will discuss over the coming weeks what his role will be with our program day-to-day going forward.”