It’s no secret that hockey is an aggressive, physical sport. Delicate little flowers need not apply. As rough as the game is, it’s truly surprising that serious injuries don’t happen more frequently than they do.
As long as I’ve been watching hockey, I’ve yet to see one of my Lightning players take a frightening injury. Of course I’ve seen pulled muscles, hits with sticks, even a player out for several games (or most of a season, like after Stamkos’ surgery), but nothing scary, nothing that silenced the crowd or gave me a sick feeling in my stomach.
Until the other night.
Dan Girardi, a defenseman, was blocking a shot against the Detroit Red Wings, when the puck bounced and shot straight into the back of his head, or the back of his neck. It was hard to tell, it happened so fast. He immediately collapsed onto the ice, face first, and wasn’t moving.
I don’t even like to see players that I can’t stand get injured. So seeing a beloved Lightning player fall to the ice was scary, especially when he still wasn’t moving. Players and refs quickly gathered around him, and Red Wing players dragged trainers from both teams over to him in a panic.
When Girardi finally sat up and was able to skate off the ice, with assistance, but on his own two feet, the arena broke into relieved applause.
After a series of concussion test, Girardi amazingly joined the team for practice yesterday, saying his neck is a “little sore”. I bet!
Coach Jon Cooper said, “It was a scary moment for all of us. But what else can you say about him? He’s a warrior.” Indeed.
According to Girardi, he’s just “happy to be back at practice with the boys.” He also joked, in typical hockey fashion, “It was tough to probably see that,” then added, “Being a part of it wasn’t fun either.”