Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Gruesome Injury

The boards in hockey can be a dangerous place for players when you consider that any number of injuries can occur through physical contact with the boards. With the speed the game is played at, it's almost hard to believe that the give the boards have is enough to keep players safe. But what about officials? They have to avoid pucks rattled in on the boards as well, so the dangers of avoiding both players and projectiles is a major risk for officials. The last thing they need are the boards injuring them, but a Swedish linesman has become the first victim of a gruesome injury by the boards!

It feels wrong to give a shinpad tap to Jared Clinton of The Hockey News for getting a ton of information about this story, but he wrote it up today and it's how I heard of the accident that was suffered by linesman Anton Starby in a Swedish Allsvenskan preseason game between Tingsryd and Oskarshamn.

As Mr. Clinton writes, "Starby attempted to avoid a collision between two players along the left wing boards and placed his hand on the dasher to support his body. As his body drifted back across the blueline and toward the goal, his hand got caught in the boards and — brace yourself for this — resulted in his fingertip being torn off."

In looking at the image to the right, it doesn't appear that anything looks off during the moments when Starby suffers his injury. He's avoiding a collision, and he has his hand on the boards to help provide balance as he avoids the contact along the boards. You can't see a noticeable gap in the boards or the glass, so this is a freak accident of the most unfortunate nature.

The injury happened midway through the first period of the preseason game, and the description from one of the coaches in the game seems a little too descriptive for my liking.

"It was the nastiest I have ever experienced," Tingsryd head coach Magnus Sundquist told Aftonbladet. "He tore off his finger, literally. Players wondered what was rope that hung on the rim, but it was the finger. Our doctor had to remove it... We think of him. This was really nasty and very unlucky. It may happen one in a million."

Ok, that vivid description wasn't really needed, but you get the idea of how afflicted the staff, players, fans, and officials were after Starby's injury. They finished the game, but does anyone care about the outcome of the game after that injury? I don't.

All I really care about is that Starby recovers from this rather gruesome injury. No one ever wants to see injuries at any level, but to see a professional official suffer a freak accident like this is terrible. I wish nothing but the best in Anton Starby's recovery, and I hope he'll be back on the ice as soon as he feels ready once again.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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