The Jiri Fischer scare

What happened to Jiri Fischer is something that seems to be on the rise - top athletes who appear to be healthy as a horse passing out due to a heart problem, sometimes even dropping dead. When they push their bodies to the limits of exertion, it unearths these usually insignificant heart problems. I'm just thankful that Fischer is OK today.

This isn't just a problem for the pros. I'm sure everyone can think of a local athlete who suddenly and shockingly died while playing a sport. It happened to my neighbour and former gym teacher at an old timer's hockey game a few years ago. At the time, the idea of having a defibrillator in every rink appeared to be taking hold. I'm not sure why that movement lost it's momentum.

ESPN whipped up this list of other scary events at NHL games. The trio of recent injuries to Montreal Canadiens - Brian Savage, Trent McCleary, and Donald Audette - brought back memories of some terrible seasons. The Habs have some injuries now, but nothing compared to those years.

Lastly, regarding the postponement of the Wings-Preds game last night: It's nice to think it was out of respect for the fallen player, but I have my doubts. Games have continued under similar circumstances, including those that made ESPN's 'scary' list. For game officials, the worrisome part of the Fischer incident was the unknown. If a player sustains a neck injury hitting the boards or suffers a severe laceration, his medical situation may be dire but the cause is obvious. Sometimes terrible things happen in hockey games, but the game usually goes on. With Fischer, no one knew what happened at the time. It may have even been something done by a crazy fan, a la Monica Seles. The game was wisely postponed because of the chance, small as it may be, that it was something potentially harmful to other players or even fans.


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