Nova Scotia hockey player escapes potentially life-threatening neck injury

WARNING: Story contains graphic content 

A teenage hockey player from rural Nova Scotia is thanking his lucky stars after he managed to overcome a life-threatening injury during a recent game.

“I was just in the corner and me and the other guy went down and all I remember was I seen his skate coming, got me in the neck,” Bailey Fraser said, a player with the Brookfield Elks.

The incident happened while the Elks were taking on the Sackville Blazers during their Dec. 3 game.

Bailey says all he remembers was the officials stopping the play immediately after he was struck.

“I remember all the refs looked at me and blew the whistle and then the trainers came out and held my neck to put pressure on it.”

One of the responders was an off-duty firefighter who was watching his son play for the Blazers.

“It was a deep laceration to the neck and it just missed one of the main arteries in his neck,” firefighter Wade Grandy said. “Like an inch down to the interior side of his neck and it could have been a different outcome.”

Fraser was stabilized as much as possible at the Sackville Arena before being sent to the Emergency Department in Halifax by ambulance.

The severity of his injury was immediately recognized upon his arrival.

“It was a pretty bad injury, it was pretty deep, pretty wide as well. Luckily he didn’t injure any major blood vessels because the carotid is very close to where his injury is. Some of the major vessels of the neck like the internal jugular are also very close,” Dr. Ahmed AlSayed said, the resident who responded to Fraser.

Junior B players aren’t required by Hockey Nova Scotia to wear neck guards while they play at that level but the ordeal has left Fraser reconsidering his decision to wear one in the future.

“The neck guard would have helped if it was lower and in the jugular, it would have protected that but since it was up high there was no protection,” Bailey said.

Dr. AlSayed says the medical team conducted a CT scan to ensure no major blood vessels were injured before stitching up Fraser’s wound.

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