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Old 03-20-2002, 03:33 PM   #1
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tragic loss

Puck snapped girl's head back, damaging artery
Posted: Wednesday March 20, 2002 2:28 PM
Updated: Wednesday March 20, 2002 3:54 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The 13-year-old girl hit by a puck at an NHL game died from a rare injury to an artery that was damaged when her head snapped back, a coroner said Wednesday.

Brittanie Cecil died Monday, two days after she was struck in the forehead by the puck at a game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Calgary Flames.

The damage to the artery, which runs from the spine to the back of the brain, led to a "vicious cycle" of clotting in the artery and swelling of the brain, said Franklin County Coroner Brad Lewis, who performed the autopsy. He said the artery also might have been slightly torn.

"The puck struck her in the forehead, causing a skull fracture and some bruising of the brain in the area," Lewis said. "But that wasn't what led to her death. It was the snapping back of the head and the damage to that artery."

Lewis said he consulted with other pathologists on the rarity of the injury. He said that a fellow pathologist had not encountered a similar injury and death in more than 25 years as a doctor.

The eighth-grader at Twin Valley South Middle School near Dayton had been at Children's Hospital in Columbus since being hurt and died there late Monday afternoon. She remained conscious until Monday morning, Lewis said.

She was sitting about 15 rows above the ice and behind the goal when the puck, 6 ounces of hard, frozen rubber, came flying into the stands after Columbus center Espen Knutsen's slap shot. The puck, which can travel over 100 mph on slap shots, appeared to be deflected and hit two other fans sitting near Brittanie.

Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Old 03-20-2002, 09:09 PM   #2
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It's so devastating, I feel so awful for her family, especially her father, he'll be haunted by this for the rest of his life, it will undoubtedly run thru his mind a millions times a day until the moment his time on earth is over, I just don't know how as a father you get over something like that? That is every parent's worst nightmare, to see their child die in their lifetime. I don't know what to say Nikki, this just broke my heart reading it in the paper today, and they showed her picture, she had a big, beautiful smile, so bright and full of life, it could have been anybody's daughter or sister or friend.


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Old 03-20-2002, 09:40 PM   #3
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definetely a very sad story. you're right wanderer, she was a very pretty young girl.

hockey, perhaps of all the sports, can come together in a time of need. lets hope safer alternatives to the current arrangement are considered.
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Old 03-21-2002, 11:30 AM   #4
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that is so terribly sad to hear...........u never think about safety when you go see sports.....sure ya dont?

I have only been to two ice hockey games, now although they have screens up thats not gonna stop a puck flying from being hit a certain angle...........and that poor girl was so unlucky......................what a tragic death..........she had so much ahead of her......tahts so sad.....
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Old 03-21-2002, 12:45 PM   #5
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i just thought id let you know that in our town, in march of 2000 at a senior hockey game, a guy was hit in the temple by an errant puck. he went to the doctor, the doctor then told him to take some aspirin and go home. he went to sleep forever that night.

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Old 03-24-2002, 07:42 PM   #6
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I agree about the community taking it hard. I feel so bad. I was at Buca that night and almost went with my girlfriend's dad to that game. I was really shocked to see the news later that night.

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