Is this a week in which no throat is safe?
Few things are as scary as when an NHL player takes a hard shot to the head, but I cannot help but note how strange it is than two different players took pucks to the throat this week. First, San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe was rushed to the hospital after he took a Brad Richards shot off the throat during a Wednesday game against the Dallas Stars. Last night, Vancouver Canucks forward Alex Burrows suffered a similar fate from a Jarret Stoll shot last night at the Staples Center (video here).
The good news is that both players are OK and seemingly won’t suffer from much more than a night (or few moments) of extreme discomfort. The Vancouver Province reports that the Canucks are weary of swelling in the case of Burrows, who actually felt good enough to return to last night’s game but then “thought the better of it.” The Sharks acted on such instincts when Clowe’s throat showed some signs of swelling, according to David Pollak of the Mercury News.
Clowe’s initial reaction was to pursue the puck, thinking he might be in position for a shot on the Dallas goal.
“But I couldn’t catch my breath, and then I had trouble breathingwhen I was getting off,” he said. The problem continued on the bench “because I was coughing and puked a little bit.”
When Clowe’s throat started to swell in the locker room, the decision was made to send him to Baylor University Medical Center for further evaluation.
There are some accidents that just cannot be avoided and I think taking a shot to the throat – for the most part – is something we just hope happens infrequently. Incidents like this make it fairly difficult to discourage players from wearing visors, though. Is better vision worth losing an eye? Better to be on the safe side I’d say, even if hockey is far from a safe sport.