A month after collapsing on the ice prior to a home game in Tuscon, there has finally been a status update on the health of Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham and a re-telling of the procedure that saved his life.
Cunningham, 26, suffered a heart attack on the night of November 19th, just minutes before puck drop for the Arizona Coyotes’ AHL affiliate. Cunningham collapsed onto the ice during warm-ups and began suffering convulsions. On-ice medics began chest compressions immediately before rushing Cunningham to the hospital. In this new press release, the details of that ordeal have been revealed. Cunningham was first brought to Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital, where chest compression CPR continued. Realizing that more desperate measures were needed, the staff at St. Mary’s decided that Cunningham needed to be transported to Banner – University Medical Center Tuscon, the only facility in the area that could perform the advanced ECMO treatment needed to save Cunningham’s life. ECMO, short for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, is a specialized process that circulates blood and adds oxygen, essentially working as an artificial lung needed to provide the heart with the vital oxygen it needs to heal. In the even that the heart cannot be re-started using traditional means, ECMO is a last-ditch life-saving effort. As the press release states, “(m)ost patients who need ECMO are almost certain to die” without it. Luckily for Cunningham, Banner dispatched a mobile team to St. Mary’s to begin the process as they transported him to their facility for further care.
Thanks to the life-saving efforts of the on-ice medics, St. Mary’s staff, and specially trained staff at Banner, Cunningham has returned from the brink of death and made a miraculous recovery. Cunningham was in critical condition for days following the incident, but a few weeks ago it was reported that he was awake and aware, spending time with family and friends. Now, against all odds, Cunningham is ready to leave the hospital. The timing could not be more perfect, as Cunningham expects to be back home for Christmas. It has been an amazing job by all involved, including Cunningham, who’s passion and hard-working attitude on the ice continued in the hospital room as he fought back and is now on his way to a remarkable recovery.
We here at Pro Hockey Rumors continue to send our support to Cunningham and his family and are happy to hear that a player who many describe as one of the true good guys of the game is on his way back to health.