Under the advice of his doctor in Switzerland, Lane MacDonald '88-'89--1989 Hobey Baker winner and captain of last year's NCAA champion Harvard hockey team--has temporarily stopped playing hockey, his parents said last night.
MacDonald, who has been playing with a team in Lugano, Switzerland since early October, made the decision after suffering a pair of injuries in recent weeks that intensified a head-injury problem which has plagued him since high school.
"Nothing is definite yet," said Joyce MacDonald, Lane's mother, in an interview last night from her home in Mequon, Wis. "He has just decided that he needs to step back and evaluate the situation and see if playing hockey is really worth the risk of something really serious happening."
The problem, which is characterized by migraine-like symptoms and blurry vision first occurred when MacDonald took a blow to the head while playing high school football for the University School in Milwaukee. It recurred several times during his Harvard career and forced him to miss two games last season.
"What seems like minor blows to the head, minor incidents, give Lane at lot of problems," said Lowell MacDonald Sr., Lane's father. "He has seen several doctors and they have never really been able to pinpoint the problem."
Two weeks ago, while playing in a road game, MacDonald took a particularly rough check into the boards and was forced to sit out the rest of the contest. According to his mother, he had difficulty with his vision for several days afterward, but still returned to the lineup for the team's next two contests.
On Dec. 5, Lane suffered his second head injury in as many weeks. A stick to the side of the eye required six stitches, and the related head pain and vision problems have kept him out of the lineup since.
"The second blow within a week left him quite concerned," his father said. "His doctor has told him that another hit could cause grave consequences."
Despite the injury, MacDonald played exceedingly well in his last two games with Lugano, scoring three goals and two assists to lead the team in scoring.
"He has always been tougher on himself than anyone else," his mother said, "but he finally felt like he was picking up as many points as he should be. This is just so frustrating for him. He's concerned. He know he has to be thinking about what could happen down the line."