A hockey game between the Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers in Shefield, UK turned horrific Saturday when Panthers player Adam Johnson suffered a gruesome injury after a skate blade sliced his neck midway through the first period.
According to a detailed account on Reddit, Johnson fell to his knees on the ice before a Steelers player accidentally collided with him from behind, causing the opposing player’s skate to cut Johnson’s throat.
Blood immediately began pooling on the ice as Johnson clutched his neck in agony. Players and coaches rushed to Johnson’s aid as a hush fell over the crowd at Sheffield Arena.
The Reddit user, who claimed to be an eyewitness at the game, described the injury as “the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life” and said Johnson’s neck wound went “deep across his carotid artery.” The post added that Johnson’s neck and chest were “drenched in blood” before he collapsed to the ice just 10 seconds after the initial collision
Medical staff hurried onto the ice and desperately tried to stop the bleeding. As they worked, teammates formed a circle around Johnson to shield him from view. The eyewitness stated they are “99.9% sure it was a fatal wound”.
Crews eventually erected screens and escorted the nearly 8,000 fans out of the arena due to the graphic nature of the injury. The team’s official Twitter account posted that fans are asked to leave the building.
Fans have been asked to leave the building due to a major medical emergency
— The Nottingham Panthers (@PanthersIHC) October 28, 2023
Johnson was transported to a local hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. His condition remains critical. Players and coaches were visibly distraught, while fans took to social media to express their horror and wish Johnson a full recovery.
The former NHL player was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2014 after a college career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He ultimately played 13 games for the Penguins over two seasons, scoring 1 goal.
Skate-to-neck injuries are rare in hockey, but often devastating. In 1989, Buffalo Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk nearly died when an opposing player’s skate severed his carotid artery. Malarchuk needed over 300 stitches but miraculously recovered after trainers pinched off the artery to stop the bleeding.
The remainder of the Panthers-Steelers game was postponed following Johnson’s injury. The league has not announced if or when the game will be resumed.
All thoughts are with Johnson and his family as he fights for his life. The hockey community pulls together in hoping for a full recovery.