Craig Cunningham speaks out on near-death incident, says he’s likely done with hockey

In a mid-November AHL game between the Tucson Roadroadrunners and Manitoba Moose, Tuscon captain Craig Cunningham collapsed before puck drop. Cunningham was rushed to the hospital via ambulance and since then there haven’t been many big updates regarding his health. Until now. reports Cunningham almost died, as 70 minutes of “effective CPR” were administered. Multiple live saving devices were used, as his mother Heather told the site “I watched my son die right in front of my eyes.” Here’s how his condition was described.

“Cunningham’s heart was still in ventricular fibrillation, and because his lungs were bleeding, his blood was getting little oxygen. The blood in his heart at that point, Khalpey said, was black. Khalpey needed to circumvent the body’s natural blood pumping, using the ECMO machine to act as a temporary heart and lung, with the cannulas draining the side of Cunningham’s heart, the blood passing through a pump which pushed it into an artificial lung, which moved it back through the heart’s arterial side with fully oxygenated blood.”

Thankfully, after the ordeal, Cunningham survived. Today, he spoke out about the incident and the doctor’s who saved his life.

“I wouldn’t be here today” without these doctors, our trainers, and the fire fighters who were at the arena that night.

He dismissed the notion of a possible return to pro hockey.

“As of now, I think that I’m probably done. But, we’ll see when I get back from rehab how it goes. But, as of right now, well, at the level I was playing at I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to playing pro. I don’t know, anything can happen.” 

“These doctors, trainers, and everyone who’s helped have given me a gift, a gift that I get to look at every day, and that’s my son,”  Cunningham’s mother Heather told the media.

Regardless of whether Cunningham ever laces up the skates again, it’s amazing to see him talking and in stable shape. Best of luck recovering.

About Liam McGuire

Social +Staff writer for The Comeback & Awful Announcing.