Fans of Tim Bozon are expressing concern for the well-being of the WHL star who is in hospital in Saskatoon undergoing treatment for meningitis.
Bozon, 19, was diagnosed Saturday with meningitis and his condition was described as critical. Meningitis is an inflammation of tissue around the brain and spine and severe cases can be fatal.
'The community is concerned for his health, for sure.' - Sports editor Trevor Crawley
"There's definitely been a lot of concern," Trevor Crawley, sports editor for the Cranbrook Daily Townsman in B.C. where Bozon plays for the Kootenay Ice. "The community is concerned for his health, for sure. He's been a big member of the team."
Official information about Bozon's condition was not available on Thursday. The WHL has requested the family's privacy be respected and a spokeswoman from the Saskatoon Health Region said she could not provide any updated information. However, she did say that if there were to be any update, it would come from Bozon's family who have been with him since Sunday.
Bozon's twitter account included a message from his parents Helen and Phil Bozon, who said on Tuesday, "Our Timmy is keeping fighting but ... thank you so much for your wonderful wishes."
Crawley noted Bozon scored a goal Friday night when the Ice played in Saskatoon and won the game 4 - 2. He was admitted to hospital the next day.
"Hockey takes a back seat when situations like this come up," he said. "It's tough to see someone like Tim Bozon, who has such a bright future ahead of him ... have to go through something like this."
Crawley said he believes the other players on the team are doing their best on the ice, despite the worry for a teammate. The team had a practice Thursday afternoon in advance of a Friday night game, at home, against Medicine Hat.
"They're trying to stay positive and play the best game they can," he said. "This team is very close ... and I know they're all thinking about him," Crawley said. "These guys are family. They're brothers."
Saskatchewan's Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said Thursday that the spread of meningitis, in this case, was not a great risk.
"If a person is sick with meningitis, it's not easy for anyone else to catch it," Shahab said. "So just being in the same room or shaking someone's hand or sitting next to someone does not result in increased risk. It's not really transferred in that. It's only slightly high-risk for people who would be very close household contacts."
The WHL and health officials in Saskatchewan and B.C. have been in contact with other teams and on-ice officials who may have had contact with Bozon and provided advice on appropriate protocols to follow. The president of the Saskatoon Blades said his players were taking antibiotics, as a precaution, and have been told what symptoms to watch for.