Colorado High School Hockey Death Leads To Changes

The death of a Palmer High School hockey player has the Colorado Springs school re-evaluating its handling of hockey injuries.

Sam Hesselberg, a three-sport Palmer athlete, was killed by a blow to the head that caused a ruptured artery in his brain. The 17-year-old player took a hit five days before he died in a game against Ralston Valley, but did not leave the game. He had a cut patched on his chin while he was in the penalty box, returning to the game afterwards. He did not display any signs of concussion.

Hesselberg took finals the day before he died, then went home, complaining to a friend of a headache. His mother later found him on the bathroom floor, unconscious. He never regained consciousness, and was removed from life support the next morning.

Palmer High School is implementing sweeping changes in response to the tragedy. Players are being urged to come forward if they experience any pain in the head, neck or shoulders. Helmets are being fitted. If a helmet breaks, the player cannot borrow another. Stickers are no longer allowed on helmets, either.

The school is attempting to implement pre-injury tests to use as a baseline for future injuries, but has to clear funding first.

We hope the changes will prevent further tragedies.

The Metier Law Firm, LLC – Denver injury attorneys

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