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NHL Hall of Famer sends message in support of Damar Hamlin while recalling similar incident

NHL Hall of Famer Chris Pronger joined the many on social media in expressing concern for Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin following Monday night’s terrifying scene – a night that Pronger says was eerily reminiscent of one the two-time Olympic gold medalist once experienced.

Pronger, 48, posted a message on Twitter Tuesday sending his “thoughts and prayers” to Hamlin and his family as the second-year player remains in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after he collapsed on the field Monday night from cardiac arrest. 

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Damar, his family, teammates and the greater NFL community during this incredibly scary time,” Pronger wrote in part. 


The retired NHL defenseman also said he hopes that Hamlin will recover as he did when he collapsed on the ice during the 1998 Stanley Cup Playoffs after taking a slap shot to the chest. 

“Prayers that Damar Hamlin can have the same outcome that I was fortunate to have with my incident,” he said in a tweet. 

Pronger, who was in his third season with the St. Louis Blues at the time, blocked a shot from Detroit Red Wings defenseman Dmitri Mironov when the puck struck him directly in the left side of his chest. 

Chris Pronger of the St. Louis Blues skates against the Canadiens circa 1990 at the Montreal Forum in Quebec.

After taking a few steps, he collapsed on the ice. 

According to The Buffalo News, medical staff on the ice could not locate a pulse and eventually they went to cut his jersey to perform CPR when he finally regained consciousness. After being taken to the hospital, he was diagnosed with commotio cordis.

“The lights go dark and, all of a sudden, you wake up and I was staring up at the rafters at Joe Louis Arena, looking at retired numbers and banners and what not,” Pronger told the outlet on Tuesday. “Kind of turned and glanced over and we had guys crying on the bench, not really knowing what was going on. My equipment was cut open, everything was sliced open with scissors.”

Chris Pronger of the St. Louis Blues during the Maple Leafs game on Nov. 17, 1999, at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario.

Pronger returned two nights later. 

Doctors said Wednesday they received “promising readings that they had been hoping to see,” ESPN reported, citing Jordon Rooney and the Hamlin family. Rooney reportedly added that it appeared “progress” was made. Hamlin was still in the ICU sedated and considered to be in critical condition.

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