Chris Pronger was playing in a golf tournament in St. Louis back in June when he just couldn't go on any longer.

The 40-year-old former defenseman had been working out a lot, trying to see if he could get back into shape. He already knew he couldn't play hockey anymore. Not since he took a stick to the eye three Octobers ago and his life changed forever. He was diagnosed with an ocular concussion and won't be much help to the Flyers, the team in which he's still under contract until June 30, 2017.

Still, the five-time All-Star, four-time Olympian and Stanley Cup champion wanted to get in better shape. Even a ramped-up workout plan is too much for Pronger anymore.

When he started getting "unbelievable headaches" he knew he had to stop his routine.

"My brains were pounding out of my head," Pronger said Wednesday on a conference call.

It was another reminder that playing days are over and Pronger's next career move won't be on the ice.

A couple weeks later, just after the draft, Pronger got a call from deputy commissioner Bill Daly to see if he'd like to work in the league's player safety department. The league hadn't yet replaced senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan, who left to become president of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Pronger called Flyers president Paul Holmgren and general manager Ron Hextall just so they wouldn't be surprised later in case something happened.

Daly called again when they gave Stephane Quintal the job and Pronger started doing more research, reached out to Rob Blake (who left the department of player safety to work for the Los Angeles Kings) and thought about if he really wanted to do it.