Check injures Hudson bantam hockey playerDan Lienemann and his family love hockey but they also know how dangerous it can be when things don’t go as planned. Lienemann, 13, sustained multiple compression fractures to his spine in a hockey game.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
Dan Lienemann and his family love hockey but they also know how dangerous it can be when things don’t go as planned.
Lienemann, 13, sustained multiple compression fractures to his spine in a hockey game on Dec. 2 in Somerset and he is out for the season. He is on the Hudson Hockey Association’s Raider White bantam team. His parents, Anne and Mark, were at the game and saw Dan get checked from behind and driven head-first into the boards.
Anne recalled the moment she saw her son go down. “He was skating the puck out of the zone when I saw him get checked… He went down. I remember hearing the whistle blow. He got up after the hit but then immediately collapsed to the ice. I freaked out a little bit. I think the hardest thing was him looking up at me. His face was so full of pain and fear.”
Anne Lienemann believes her son’s injury was mishandled from the start and that he should not have been moved off the ice by anyone other than emergency medical personnel. Instead, after getting up, Dan skated to the bench and into the locker room at the end of the period. It was only when he was skating back into the arena for the third period that his parents could see how much pain he was in and knew he was seriously injured. They took Dan to Hudson Hospital in their car.
“We could see he was really hurting, so much so that when Mark turned on the Wild game on the radio, something Dan loves, he told his Dad to turn it off. We knew it was bad then,” said Anne.
While they took X-rays and a scan at Hudson Hospital, they were unable to do an MRI that evening. The doctor provided some pain medication for Dan and sent the Lienemanns home with instructions to come back on Monday. The hospital was unable to do the MRI on Monday either. An MRI on Tuesday revealed compression fractures to five vertebrae between Dan’s neck and shoulders.
Dan was fitted with a back brace and is now being treated at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. He is expected to make a full recovery. The family hoped he might be able to get this brace off last week, but doctors have advised him to wear it for an additional four weeks. “His doctors want to err on the side of safety. It is a very serious injury,” said Anne.
While Dan is missing hockey, his mother said she isn’t looking forward to the time her son “pads up” to resume play. She knows that time will come but she wants those in charge to make some changes to prevent injuries like Dan’s and those of Jack Jablonski, the Twin Cities teen who was paralyzed from a similar injury. “We know that could have been Dan or any of his teammates.”
Dan has played hockey for years and the family has always known that the play is rough. But Anne says the game has changed. “There used to be a code of honor in the game and respect for the people you were playing with. There were boundaries but I think those boundaries have been blurred. Everything in our culture runs at such a high speed and winning is the thing no matter the cost. I think we’ve lost perspective. In the end, it is a game.”
Anne would like to see changes here like those recently made in Minnesota including upping the penalty time from two minutes to five. “I think it should be at least five minutes and possibly ejection from the game or a suspension, depending on the circumstances. Only a severe penalty or consequence will get the message across.”
As a mother, Anne Lienemann knows it is hard for children to understand the risks and consequences in something like hockey, a sport they love. “But that’s why the adults have to step up, take charge and make changes that will keep accidents like this one from happening and help skaters understand the risks of the game.”
Dan Lienemann is in seventh grade at Hudson Middle School. His family moved here from Minneapolis three years ago.