Lynx staff prepared in case of emergency

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The Augusta Lynx were enjoying a day off in South Florida when some saw Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik's injury as it happened live on television.

Others watched the gruesome replay later.

"I was watching it live on the Florida sports channel," said Alex Kirias, the radio voice of the Lynx. "It shows you how dangerous and sharp those skate blades are."

Zednik underwent emergency surgery after losing five units of blood in the incident.

"I saw it on SportsCenter ," Lynx head coach Bob Ferguson said. "It was a little scary, but it happens so rarely you don't even think about it. That's only the second time it's ever happened."

Former Buffalo goalie Clint Malarchuk suffered a severed jugular vein in 1989 when a similar situation resulted in a skate blade slicing his neck open. Malarchuk recovered and returned to the ice less than two weeks later.

"That led to goalies wearing neck guards," Lynx athletic trainer Joe Huff said. "Now all goalies wear them, and all kids who play are required to wear them, too."

Huff, in his third season as trainer for the Lynx, said he saw the replay of Zednik's injury.

"It's something you hope to never see happen," he said. "In that situation you find the laceration, stop the bleeding and get him loaded right into the ambulance immediately."

As the team's trainer, Huff is the man the Lynx would look to should a similar life-threatening injury happen.

Huff said he couldn't recall a similar situation occurring at a Lynx game in the past, but he did remember a junior hockey game eight years ago when he saw a player take a skate to the face.

That player happened to be Lynx defenseman Ken Scuderi, then a junior hockey player with the Lincoln Stars.

"The skate cut into his chin, and he had to have 100 stitches," Huff said. "His jaw was exposed at that point."

Huff said injuries can't always be prevented in such a full-contact sport, but it's his job to be there if one occurs at a Lynx game.

"It's all about preparation," he said. "We have EMTs at every game, and the hospital is just three of four blocks away. Hopefully we'll never have to use them."

Associated Press reports were used in this article.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.


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