It started out as an innocent enough play, but one that Kurt Jory replays in his mind from time-to-time, as he considers what might have been.
Kurt was between the pipes, playing goal for the Brock University Badgers in a game against the University of Windsor Lancers at Windsor Arena. Although Kurt was in his first year at Brock, he was a seasoned goaltender having completed a successful Major Jr. A career in the Western Hockey League
A Lancer forward broke to the net. Kurt came out to challenge him. His defenseman, who came to help, got his stick tangled with the attacking Lancer player. As the Lancer forward lost his balance, he spun around, the back skate came up, and as he fell to the ice, his skate came around and made contact with Kurt’s throat.
The next few minutes were a frenzy of activity. Kurt was knocked down by the force of the collision, but tried to get up. Then he saw the blood, lots of it, and he knew he was in trouble! Kurt suffered a major trauma, and was loosing consciousness. While Brock athletic therapists worked to control the bleeding, he looked up at his friend and teammate, Isaac Smeltzer, and asked him to say good-bye to his family and tell them he loves them.
dics arrived on scene within minutes and began to administer advanced emergency care. He was transported immediately by ambulance to Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital’s level I trauma centre emergency department. Immediately upon arrival an emergency medicine physician Dr. Lance Atton, took the lead in stabilizing Kurt’s condition. He also documented the degree and severity of the neck laceration, to assist the vascular surgeon who would undertake the challenge of repairing this major injury.
As this region’s level I trauma centre, Hôtel-Dieu Grace has a roster of specially trained doctors, nurses and caregivers, available 24/7 365 days a year, to deal with severe injuries like Kurt’s. Dr. Carman Iannicello, a vascular surgeon responded immediately to the ER’s page. Dr. Iannicello performed three hours of surgery to repair the veins, arteries and muscles damaged as a result of this injury.
Following surgery, Kurt was transferred to the ICU where his exceptional care continued. Since, Kurt lost close to three litres of blood, he was still quite critical following surgery, and required a blood transfusion to restore his body’s blood level to five litres. In addition, he was far from home. Realizing Kurt had no immediate family near by, the thoughtful ICU staff arranged to have a phone close to his bed so that family from Manitoba could call and speak to him.
“The nurses were special,” Kurt fondly recalls, “as an athlete, we tend to eat a lot, and the one thing this injury did not do was curb my appetite! The food portions in the ICU tended to be small, but the nurses did everything they could to get me more food!”
Kurt remained at Hôtel-Dieu Grace for close to two weeks following his brush with death. Kurt continues to take therapy due to lingering nerve damage in his arm, but remains optimistic. He is making progress toward his degree and is working as a goalie coach for the Badger hockey team. Kurt has three years of University athletic eligibility left and is intent on making a comeback.
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Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital Foundation