For Marc Savard, it’s not the Matt Cooke hit that haunts him; it’s the hit that ended his career.

The former Boston Bruins center last touched NHL ice on January 22, 2011, when he took a hit from then-Colorado Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick that caused his head to hit off the glass — his second major concussion in as many seasons. But Savard knew he was one bad hit away from retirement already, as he detailed in an article for The Players’ Tribune on Tuesday that the devastating Cooke hit completely changed him.

Savard described his awful headaches, his need to lie in the dark throughout the day and debilitating depression and anxiety.

“I guess the word is daunting,” Savard wrote. “Just the thought of talking to a friend on the phone seemed like a huge mental and almost physical effort. I was so irritable because of my symptoms that it was hard to be around people — even the people I loved. All I wanted to do was rest. And that’s when it becomes a vicious cycle. Because when you can’t get out of bed and do the stuff that makes you happy, you get depressed. And then it’s like you get depressed that you’re depressed. It’s a suffocating feeling.”

Savard saw a psychologist regularly — and recommended other NHL players with postconcussion symptoms do the same — but the Cooke hit affected his brain so badly that he was considered suicidal, even though he wrote he never thought about taking his own life. But he still wanted to return to hockey, which he did for the second-round of the Bruins’ playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers that season.