Devasting Turn Of Events: Five Time Olympic Medalist Suffers Lifelong Paralysis Following Tragic Hockey Injury

Samer Dagher
November 30, 2023  (7:59 PM)

Five Time Olympic Medalist Suffers Tragic Hockey Injury Resulting In Lifelong Paralysis

The Finnish captain of the Swedish women's hockey league HV71, Sanni Hakala , 26, was seriously injured last Friday after crashing headfirst into a post in the Djurgården match.
Teammates and referees signaled the first aid personnel to the spot and Hakala was finally taken off the ice on a stretcher. The match was suspended for almost 40 minutes before it was announced in the arena that the match had been suspended.
HV71 announced on Sunday that Hakala received surgery for her neck injuries. The doctors said that the surgery went well, and Hakala has a long rehabilitation ahead of her. Hakala was operated on at Linköping University Hospital on Saturday.
Hakala now said on Instagram that she is paralyzed from the chest down.
Below you can read how Hakala told about her injury on Instagram in her own words.
- It is still difficult to understand what has happened. That the collision with the goal post was as serious as it was. That the consequences are so great. Not only that I have to stop playing hockey - something that has been such a big part of my life for many years - but that I may have to be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
- The injury that happened to me last Friday, when I crashed into the goal post, has caused paralysis from the chest down, and my hands have reduced function.
- That's the reality I'm trying to get down to. I understand that I am now facing a long and hard battle with my body, the hardest battle of my life. I've had incredible support from my family since day one and I know they'll be there for me the whole way.
- And all the support I have received from my friends, fans, club and all over the world - I just want to say THANK YOU! Your concern and support means everything to me and my family in this difficult situation. And an equally big thank you to the nursing staff who took care of me.
- Now I have to focus all my energy on rehabilitation so that I can recover as well as possible. Therefore, myself and HV71 will not comment further on my injury or my situation, and we ask that you show consideration and respect for me and my family.
- This situation is of course deep, but I'm not afraid to take it on. I don't know what I'm going to do next, but I know it's going to be pretty damn awesome.

Originally from Jyväskylä, Hakala played in the domestic league in JYP and Kärpi before transferring to HV71 in the fall of 2016. In JYP, Hakala celebrated the Finnish championship in the 2015-16 season.
In Sweden, Hakala has represented HV71 since then. In the spring of 2020, he won the point exchange for the playoffs of the Swedish league.
This season HV71 is also represented by Finns goalkeeper Anni Keisala and forwards Emmi Rakkolainen, Suvi Käyhkö, Anni Montonen and Kiira Yrjänen.
Hakala has won two Olympic bronze medals (2018 and 2022), World Championship silver (2019) and two World Championship bronze medals (2017 and 2021) in Naisleijon.
Devasting Turn Of Events: Five Time Olympic Medalist Suffers Lifelong Paralysis Following Tragic Hockey Injury

With all the recent tragic accidents happening in the hockey world, are you having second thoughts about letting your children pursue a hockey career?

Yes2930.2 %
No6769.8 %
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