Initially, Jeff de Wit looked like a hard-luck victim, however the Red Deer Rebels second-year forward now considers himself fortunate.
De Wit was struck on the right side of his neck by a clearing attempt from teammate Colton Bobyk while killing a penalty during Saturday’s 4-3 WHL win over the Kootenay Ice at the Centrium, and what followed was not pretty.
The 17-year-old Red Deer product fell and then attempted to get back up on his skates, but was clearly unable to find his balance. He remained on the ice for close to 10 minutes while being attended to by paramedics and the Rebels training staff, then skated off under his own steam.
“I went down on one knee to block a shot and it went past and hit the defenceman (Bobyk) behind me,” de Wit recalled Tuesday, following an off-ice workout session at Can-Pro Athletic Training Centre. “I turned to skate up out of the zone because our guy had full possession of it, then the puck hit me on the neck.
“I was short of breath and I had a lot of nerves shooting down the right side of my body, down my arms. I’m pretty lucky it hit me where it did, because any other place, like the throat or jaw, and it could have been a lot worse.”
While paramedics had a stretcher available to transport de Wit from the ice, he skated off slowly and was taken to Red Deer Regional Hospital for precautionary measures.
“They let me skate off the ice, they wanted to make sure I was stable and that there nothing wrong with my spine,” said de Wit, who underwent a CAT scan at the hospital to check for possible air wave blockage and blood clotting.
The tests were negative and de Wit was allowed to go home.
“For what happened, I’m pretty lucky that the puck didn’t hit me somewhere else because it could have been pretty serious,” he said. “I’m going to watch the video tomorrow to see how close he (Bobyk) was to me. I know it was a hard shot.
“I had a tough time catching my breath. It was a really weird feeling because I wanted to get back up and skate off, but I was in that much pain and I couldn’t breathe.”
De Wit missed practice Monday but plans to skate today and should be in the lineup when the Rebels host the Spokane Chiefs Friday.
• Meanwhile, Evan Polei should also be available for Friday’s contest after missing Saturday’s contest due to concussion symptoms.
Polei was the victim of a high hit from Medicine Hat Tigers forward Ryan Jevne on Friday, a hit that earned Jevne a checking-to-the-head major penalty and game misconduct and, ultimately, a four-game suspension.
“It looks like he’s going to be OK to play Friday, as long as he continues to progress like he has been, ” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “Everything has been going good with the concussion protocol.”
• Forward Austin Adamson is at home in Vancouver undergoing rehab and therapy for hip surgery that was performed in June.
“He’s back skating and will have a check-up in November,” said Sutter. “At that time, we’ll evaluate where he’s at.”