The headache was gone, at least for a while Tuesday, and hockey player Mark Janssens said he expects to be released from LDS Hospital Wednesday. He was to have another CAT scan Tuesday.
"I feel a bit better every day," he said by telephone.Janssens, 20, from Surrey, British Columbia, is the Denver Ranger center who hit the back of his head on the Salt Palace ice Saturday night while falling during a fight. He suffered a concussion and small blood clot. He was knocked unconscious and went through seizures, his jaws locked and his tongue covered his air passage, creating a life-threatening situation. Following 15 minutes of on-ice first aid from Eagle doctors, team trainers, Salt Palace security personnel and paramedics, he was transported to LDS Hospital and arrived in critical condition. His condition was upgraded once that night and again Sunday, and Monday he was moved out of intensive care.
He remembers nothing of the last four minutes of the game but did wake up as the first-aid team was breaking a tooth to clear his airway.
Janssens said what happened was a freak occurence, and he has no second thoughts about hockey. He also said he feels no malice toward the Eagles or Martin Simard, with whom he was fighting. "This accident was an isolated incident because my helmet came off just before my head hit the ice," he said. Films showed the helmet flying off a foot or two above the ice after Simard tackled him. "If it hadn't come off, I'd have been in a lot different situation," Janssens said. "It was an accident."
He expects to resume playing, though this is his second serious injury in the past two seasons. "I have to take some time off and look at the situation and see how bad my accident is, but I think I'm going to play again," he said.
Last year, while Janssens was in juniors, another player cross-checked him to the jaw and put him in the hospital with several broken lower teeth. "I gotta stop doing something - I can't carry on like this," he joked.
He was visited by Eagle owner Art Teece, Coach Paul Baxter and several Eagle players Monday, and Janssens has received get-well wishes from Salt Lakers. "People are being great to me. I don't know anybody here, but I got a whole bunch of cards and a whole bunch of flowers," he said.
In a related matter, International Hockey League Commissioner Bud Poile, who had expected to make a ruling today on fines, suspensions or other actions from Saturday's game, was called away from his Indianapolis office to attend a funeral. Tom Berry, IHL director of officials, said Poile had made no decision yet. On Monday, Poile said he was leaning toward doing little but wanted to discuss the matter with the coaches and Berry again.
Denver Coach Pete Mahovlich and player Jayson More drew gross misconducts ($100 fine plus league review) for their comments to referee Rob Martell, and Denver players swung sticks at a KSL-TV cameraman who was standing near fans who were swearing and spitting at players waiting for Janssens to be removed from the ice.