Cam Atkinson speaks emotionally about the time he was blind

Ryan Hall
November 19, 2023  (1:38)

Skate injuries are probably the most frightening injuries in the game of hockey. The skate blade is one of the sharpest objects in the world, as players require it to be that sharp to execute turns, stop on ice, and take off at high speeds in power skating.

Equivalent to a surgical blade, an injury from a skate blade could be lethal, and it takes a few seconds for the injury to occur without even realizing it. Over the years, watching the sport, many players have reported this injury and the gruesome stories that come with being rushed to the hospital and how many stitches it took to close up the wound.
Flyers forward Cam Atkinson has a story he shared regarding a skate blade injury he suffered in October of 2014. He suffered an injury to his face, which required 75 stitches to close. The major damage, aside from a scar to the face, was that he was unable to see out of his right eye. The emotional flyer explained in an interview what happened afterward.
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"I was like, I don't give a s--- what I look like,'" Atkinson said Friday, recalling the incident over nine years later. "But that was the scariest part."

This incident occurred when he was 25 years old, playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets. They were playing against the Anaheim Ducks when Ryan Kesler's skateblade came up as he was attempting to take a shot on the power play. The blade gashed his eyelid.
"The face guard, the shield, protected my eye," Atkinson said. "I closed my eye so fast, it went halfway through my eyelid, didn't even touch my eyeball. ... My eyelid was hanging over my eye, so I couldn't see. At the time, I thought it hit my eye. As soon as I got back to the doctors, they lifted my eyelid and I could see."

This story came on the heels of Adam Johnson's death a few weeks ago. Johnson, who was a former NHL player for the Flyers' rival Pittsburgh Penguins, lost his life when Matt Petgrave of the EIHL kicked his leg upward, making contact with Johnson's neck. He was rushed to the hospital where he died several hours later.
The consensus around the league seems to be that there are no issues with neckguards being mandatory in the NHL. Atkinson himself is an advocate for them, as are many other Flyers players.
The NHL has asked its affiliates and minor league teams to begin outfitting their players with neckguards, while the main clubs need to discuss this with the NHLPA and will require a vote, as this would be part of the collective bargaining agreement.
Cam Atkinson speaks emotionally about the time he was blind

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