Puck Daddy

Swedish player who suffered cardiac arrest during game returns after nearly three years

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

Orebro

Almost three years ago, Niklas Lihagen came close to dying during a game. The 26-year old was playing for Orebro in the Swedish Allsvenskan and after taking a hit, he collapsed on the ice. He went into cardiac arrest and fortunately, one of the officials on the ice who also doubled as an ambulance driver began performing CPR and helped save Lihagen's life.

Lihagen hadn't played a game since that incident in Dec. 2009 until Wednesday night. He tried a comeback in Feb. 2011, but his body wasn't ready. Eight months later was when a heart valve was replaced. On Wednesday, after several procedures since that fateful day, he suited up for Orebro during their 7-1 preseason victory over Södertälje, scoring twice.

From Aftonbladet (translated):

He's been through three surgeries and for a long while he had a surgically-implanted defibrillator to control the heart's rhythm and pace. Not until October last year, doctors were able to bring the heart under control with help from a pig's heart valve. "I chose between a mechanical and a biological valve produced from a real pig's valve. Had I chosen the mechanical, I'd never been able to play hockey again and instead I would've been forced to eat anticoagulants for the rest of my life", says Lihagen.

At one point during his recovery Lihagen said he didn't believe he could return to the ice, but with his each promising update from his doctors, the feeling got stronger and stronger. He was cleared to play in March and later given a new contract by Orebro.

Lihagen said he's a better father (his son was 8 months old at the time of the incident) and player because of his experiences over the past three years. His goal of making a comeback has been achieved and he's now eyeing a permanent spot in the lineup.

"I feel no fear at all. You can not think like that, instead it will be fun to play," he said.

Stick-tap Fredrik Hilding for the translation

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Fired-up Serena ready to raise the roof against Gibbs

      Fired-up Serena ready to raise the roof against Gibbs

      Serena Williams will be primed for action against compatriot Nicole Gibbs in their third round clash at the Australian Open on Saturday, the American battle-hardened by wins over two former top-20 players in the opening rounds. Williams, who is … More »

      Reuters - 7 minutes ago
    • SHOWCASE-West Ham galvanised by Payet absence, says Collison

      By Claire Bloomfield LONDON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - The uncertainty surrounding the future of West Ham forward Dimitri Payet has brought the squad closer together, according to the club's former midfielder Jack Collison. France international Payet, … More »

      Reuters - 9 minutes ago
    • Lyon poised to unveil Memphis

      Lyon poised to unveil Memphis

      Olympique Lyonnais are poised to unveil Dutch winger Memphis Depay who has completed his move from Manchester United, the French Ligue 1 club said on Friday. British newspapers reported that the fee for the 22-year-old Netherlands international was … More »

      Reuters - 11 minutes ago
    • Tennis-Fired-up Serena ready to raise the roof against Gibbs

      Serena Williams will be primed for action against compatriot Nicole Gibbs in their third round clash at the Australian Open on Saturday, the American battle-hardened by wins over two former top-20 players in the opening rounds. Williams, who is … More »

      Reuters - 12 minutes ago
    • Venus focused on tennis, not her age

      Venus focused on tennis, not her age

      One could never accuse Venus Williams of being sensitive about her age. Not the way she keeps making self-deprecating jokes about it at the Australian Open. Case in point: Asked about the Australian great Margaret Court after her third-round win … More »

      AP - Sports - 12 minutes ago