On January 2, the entire sports world held its breath when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during a Week 17 game with the Cincinnati Bengals.
After tackling Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, Hamlin was shot in the chest which sent his heart into cardiac arrest. Hamlin was believed to be suffering from a cardiac event known as commotio cordis, a rare but life-threatening disruption of normal heart rhythm that results from a severe blow to the chest. Support from around the world poured in as he was administered before being taken to hospital where he spent a week recovering.
In solidarity, legendary NHL defenseman Chris Pronger offered an intimate and detailed account of his own experience with the phenomenon through a Twitter feed Wednesday.
On May 10, 1998, Pronger and the St. Louis Blues faced the Detroit Red Wings in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. During the third period, Pronger blocked a slapshot that hit him in the chest – just left of his heart – and struggled to get to the bench, eventually collapsing on the ice the same way. way as Hamlin.
“I passed out on the ice, but before I passed out I was able to get up and stumble forward a few steps before collapsing,” Pronger said on Twitter. “When the coach got me, my eyes had rolled back and my lips were turning blue. He took off my helmet and took my pulse.
Feeling nothing, the trainer began performing chest compressions and CPR, restarting Pronger’s system and making him the first athlete to survive commotio cordis at the time, and only the fourth person to survive commotio cordis. cardiac event known to physicians up to that time. After spending the night in hospital and the next 24 hours with a heart monitor, he was cleared to play the next match.
Here is the video of the incident.
However, there was still the mental aspect that Pronger struggled with, not knowing if he could play freely and forget about the near-death experience he had just days ago, but the support crushing he received from fans and teammates boosted him. to continue playing.
“Leaving the ice after the warm-up, I was like, ‘How can I not play this game?’ What an environment to be a part of,” Pronger said. “The roar of the crowd when I skated on the ice for the game was something to behold.”
Pronger played in more than 1,100 games during an 18-year career and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015, becoming one of the toughest players in NHL history.
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