After suffering a serious injury in a game against his former team, the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jamie Heward was released from Sibley Memorial Hospital with a concussion and returned to Tampa Bay. While he is out of the Tampa Bay lineup indefinitely, it is good to know that Jamie has no damage to his spine.
Upon arriving in Tampa Bay, Jamie then found out that his old teammate, Alexander Ovechkin, made the hit that sent him to the hospital. In response to the news, Heward said, “I didn’t really ask who hit me until [Friday] and once I found out it was Alex, he’s in my opinion, he’s probably one of the cleanest players in the NHL as far as being honest. He’ll play hard on you, but now that I know it was him, I know it wasn’t intentional. I played with him for two years. We were pretty tight when I played there. I totally agree, and I think it was an accident.
“If today is any indication of how I’m going to be feeling for a while, it’s going to take a while. Judging from my night in the hospital and the flight home, even the taxi ride, I didn’t feel good at all today. The more I’m trying to think about things, my head, it’s more confusing what’s happening and where to go from here. So I’m going to take some time, relax and try to get my feet under me. I mean, who knows, it could be two days, it could be 22 days, I’m not sure. I’ve had concussions before that have been quick and I’ve had some that have lasted a while, so we’ll have to see how this one plays out.”
Heward also mentioned that Ovechkin did not try to contact him about the injury. Heward said, “He doesn’t have to. If he calls me, great. If not, I’m not too concerned about it. I know how he feels. He said it in the paper and talked to some of the guys after. He talked to (friend Evgeny) Artyukhin and told him he’s sorry. Some of the other guys on the Capitals left messages and he told them the same thing. As a hockey player, if he doesn’t contact me, it could be just a superstition thing, and I totally understand. We’ll talk some day. We’ll have a beer in the summer or something like that, and we’ll rehash it.”
When asked about how he was feeling after the injury, Jamie said, “As good as I can expect to right now. There wasn’t any damage to my neck, the X-rays and CAT Scan were all negative, so it’s just a matter of putting the pieces back together. It’s a little foggy right now. The more I talk to everybody and the more I talk to guys it’s starting to come back to me a little bit. But for the most part I can’t remember a lot of the game, can’t distinguish between what was happening or if it was something I was just thinking about. I haven’t seen the hit yet, I haven’t seen anything, I’m just trying to piece my day back together.”
When asked about the physical pain he was feeling, Heward replied, “I’ve got a pretty good headache, the doctors always want to know what it’s like on a scale of one to 10, and it’s an 8.5 to a nine. I’ve got some pain in the upper part of my neck, more of a whiplash pain than anything. Now that they’ve ruled out there’s no damage back there, it’s more or less I know it’s just pain from the hit.”
When asked if he was able to sleep on the night of the injury, Jamie answered, “Once they found out there was nothing wrong with my neck, they let me sleep a little bit, but the nurse kept coming in every hour to check my blood pressure. I was more worried about our assistant trainer [Mike Poirier] sleeping in the chair in the corner than I was about myself. But it was a pretty uneventful night and it’s all pretty confusing right now what actions took place. I can remember a few things, but an hour later I couldn’t remember the same things, and it’s tough to know that and hopefully it will come back soon.”
When asked if he remembered what happened on that night, Jamie said, “The first thing I remember is pretty much when I first got into the ambulance. I was pretty confused, wondering what was going on and what was happening. But now that I’ve talked to the trainers, they said on the ice that I knew it was the third period – I didn’t know the score or where I was – but I knew we were playing a game and then all of a sudden when I got into the ambulance, and whether it was the movement of the ambulance or what, but I started to forget a lot of stuff. The more I think about it now, the less I can remember of the day. And the doctor told me it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better, that I would forget a lot of things, but hopefully forgetting them makes me remember in a couple of days.”
When asked about having any long-term concussions, Heward answered, “I had one in Toronto playing with their farm team that took me all summer to get back from. It was one of those things that I would go days without remembering what I had done for that week, telling my wife I had a good workout today when she told me that I actually played golf. So I’ve had a couple that have been long term. This one, I don’t know. The confusion in my head right now is a little worrisome, but it’s only been less than a day so far and we’ll see how it turns out in the next little while after some rest.”
Jamie was asked if he wanted to see the hit on tape. He responded, “I want to see it so that maybe, I might not remember it at the time, but in a couple of days it might come back to me what was happening. I know in previous concussions that I how I kind of rebuilt my memory, talking to people about what had happened prior and after, phone calls and things. I know I had a lot of messages last night and I can only remember talking to my wife and that’s it. So it’s going to continue for a couple of days, I hope it gets better but I need to try and rest because there’s really not much you can do for it besides rest and get as much accomplished by talking to people and remembering as much as you can.”
I would like to thank my friend washingtoncapsplayer from youtube for giving me the links to the blogs that provided this information. I found another video of Ovechkin’s hit on Heward; it features interviews with Matt Bradley and Chris Clark.