Guest Author - Julie S.
Written by Julie S. 13-year-old Brittanie Cecilīs death ahs been labelled as a first for the NHL, but the for the girlīs family and friends, their unexpected loss has been nothing short of an upsetting tragedy.
Because who wouldīve ever thought that the almost 14-year-old, would die in such
an odd manner, just by attending a hockey game between the Columbus Blue Jackets
and the Calgary Flames. With the most ironic thing of all being that the girl
attended the game with her father, as an early birthday gift to her, for her
upcoming 14th birthday on Wednesday of this week.
This totally accidental death has literally shaken up the NHL, because never
before in its 85-year history, has anything this tragic ever befallen them
before. Young Brittanie Cecil is believed to be the first fan ever killed by
a flying puck during a hockey game.
But hockey teams have warned attendees to their games in advance, over a public
address system to the very real danger of stray pucks going out into the audience, and these warnings are also plainly visible on their scoreboards and on the back of individual tickets as well.
Brittanie was hit in the head by the puck, as the result of a richochet, which
caused it to go flying out of control into the stands surrounding the rink. The teenage girl was one amid many, watching the game with her father, when she
was struck by the puck. It is said that the flying puck was the result of a
defensemanīs stick, which caused it to go careening from out of the rink, and out into the audience where Brittanie was sitting.
The accident in question happened at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
After the girl was hit by the puck, she was helped out of her seat by officials
and medics, who witnessed her holding a jacket to her bleeding head. Brittanie
Cecil later died at the hospital on Monday. Her cause of death wasnīt released to the public right away and an autopsy was scheduled to take place.
Brittanie Cecilīs autopsy on Wednesday of this week, by Franklin County Coroner
Brad Lewis, determined that the teenager died from damage to an artery sustained
from whiplash. Her head literally snapped back from the impact of the puck, which led to an eventual severe clotting of the injured artery, and then swelling of the brain.
It seems that the flying puck didnīt only fatally wound Brittanie, but that it
also hit two other people in the audience as well, one of which was Larry Young
and the other a small unidentified child.
The same puck that hit Brittany with such force, got Larry Young, 61, to the
back of his head in addition. He didnīt realize that he too, had been hit, until
he felt a stinging pain to the back of his head and found that he was bleeding.
The five-year-old child was said to have been seen holding one hand up to her
mouth, and in her other hand, she was holding the runaway puck.
Larry Young and the small child, who also encountered the puck, was lucky as
far as their injuries went. The same couldnīt be said of Brittanie however.
Her totally unexpected death was both a shock and tragic loss to both her
family anf friends. It was also a major blow to those who lived in the same
small town of West Alexandria as the teenager.
Even though Brittanie Cecilīs accidental death was said to be a first ever
for the NHL. There have been other reported hockey-puck related deaths and
serious injuries since 1979. Two deaths were caused from a hockey puck in
Canada and another death in Spokane, Washington.
In the wake of Brittanie Cecilīs untimely death, one factor is both indicated
and stressed for all to see, hockey rinks need to be better upgraded and designed for the protection of spectators than they obviously are. Higher glass
barriers need to be erected to enclose the entire rink on all sides, thus
preventing any flying pucks from straying out into the audience, in order to
reduce the chances of anyone being hurt or killed as a result of air-born
pucks that become deadly projectiles. Maybe the rink should be encased inside of
a glass-bubbled shield dome with walls that almost touch the ceiling of the
stadium itself? Just an idea....As some radical changes in preventive safety needs to take place, to safeguard all those, who attend sports-related events
namely hockey at present.