March 22, 1989, one of the most gruesome looking sports injuries
ever to happen occured. In an NHL game between the St. Louis Blues
and Buffalo Sabres, two playerscolled at the front of the net,
and one player's skate catches Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk on
the neck, slicing open his jugular vein.
started pouring from his neck onto the ice--yet amazingly, Malarchuk
left the ice under his own power with the assistance of the team's
trainer. Seven people in the stands fainted, two had heart attacks,
and some of his own teammates threw up on the ice.
I wanted to do was get off the ice," says Malarchuk. "My
mother was watching the game on TV, and I didn't want her to see
for Malarchuk, the team's trainer, Jim Pizzutelli, was a former
Army medic who served in Vietnam. Pizzutelli reached into Malarchuk's
neck and pinched off the bleeding, not letting go until doctors
arrived and started closing the wound. Malarchuck had been minutes
from becoming the second on-ice fatality in NHL history.
was estimated that if the skate hit 1/8 inch higher on Malarchuk's
jugular, he would have been dead within two minutes. In the dressing
room and on his way to the hospital, doctors spent 90 minutes
and used over 300 stitches to close the wound.
enough, he came back from the injury. In the same season. While
reports that he came back in just a few days may be overstated,
he did come back that same season, and played in the NHL for several
more seasons after the incident.
now all goalies in the NHL are required to wear some form of neck