Army ATC Saves Hockey Player’s Life after Inadvertent Neck Slash

January 23, 2023 / Athletic LeaderPlayer SafetySports Medicine
When an Army hockey player had his neck slashed inadvertently during a hockey game against Sacred Heart, the Black Knights athletic trainer’s quick actions saved a life in early January.

Rachel Leahy, a second-year athletic trainer with the West Point military academy, jumped to the ice when the injury occurred during a road game with Sacred Heart University and applied pressure to the hockey player, staying with him until reaching the nearby emergency room in Bridgeport, CT.

army“I was like, ‘I need to get on top of him,’” Leahy, the Army ice hockey trainer, said on a conference call Tuesday. “So somebody hoisted me up so I could continue to apply pressure and still fit in the ambulance.

A recent story from the Hartford Courant detailed how Leahy’s quick actions saved the life of the Army hockey player.

Below is an excerpt from the Hartford Courant story.

“She single-handedly got him to the hospital in as good a shape as he was,” said Dr. Matthew Carlson, a trauma surgeon at St. Vincent’s who operated on Huss. “She saved his life, in no uncertain terms.”

Huss, a junior forward on the Army hockey team from Dallas, was playing in a game against Sacred Heart at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport that day. In the second period, his teammate Noah Wilson hit an opposing player and when his foot went up in the air, his skate cut Huss’ face and neck.

“When he hit him, his foot came up and it felt like I had been hit in the face with a punch,” Huss said. “I didn’t register I got cut. I felt a little concussed, in shock. I immediately went to the bench because my helmet fell off. I’m going to the bench holding my face and I’m looking down and I see all this blood, trailing.”

Huss thought maybe he had lost teeth; he put his hand to his mouth, but that wasn’t where the blood was coming from.

Leahy, a 2016 Quinnipiac graduate from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. who is in her second year as Army’s hockey trainer, had already hopped over the boards and had a towel ready to put on the cut.

“Rachel was with me the whole time,” Huss said. “She didn’t take her hands off my face. She was asking me how I was doing, I said, “It’s uncomfortable but I feel fine.’”

Carlson said Huss’ facial artery had been severed but not his carotid artery.

“His jawbone saved his life – it bore the brunt of the impact from the skate,” Carlson said. “If not for that, his carotid artery would have been severed. It was lucky the angle he was struck, and it was lucky his bone was there to take the impact. This was something that could have turned out differently.”

The St. Vincent’s emergency room personnel immediately brought Huss into surgery, where Carlson said he received two blood transfusions.

To read the full story from the Hartford Courant, click here.