Flames' TJ Brodie at home, 'feeling good' after collapsing at practice
Calgary GM says neurological tests on defenceman came back negative
There was a sense of relief at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday, a day after veteran Calgary Flames defenceman TJ Brodie passed out during practice and had to be taken by ambulance to hospital.
General manager Brad Treliving revisited the frightening sequence of events that unfolded after the 29-year-old suddenly collapsed to the ice and lost consciousness, just 15 minutes into practice.
"After a few minutes, TJ was alert, he was responsive. He was transported to Foothills Hospital and he remained there for the remainder of the day, into the early evening," said Treliving at a news conference Friday. "A battery of tests took place, and then TJ was released. He was at home last night resting with his family."
Brodie will be sidelined indefinitely as tests to determine what happened continue. He will remain at home while the team flies to Arizona on Friday afternoon for a short weekend road trip that will see the Flames play the Coyotes on Saturday and the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.
Super scary moment at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flames?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Flames</a> practice today. T.J. Brodie collapsed and started convulsing. Fire and paramedics working on him. On a stretcher and looks to be ok. <a href="https://t.co/BUue9ZCf8X">pic.twitter.com/BUue9ZCf8X</a>—@CTVGCampbell
Treliving said he spoke with Brodie on Friday morning and he was feeling better.
"It's traumatic. He doesn't remember a whole lot. He's sore, but he's doing well," the GM said. "Hopefully things progress well and he's back sooner, rather than later, but that's not the focus right now. The focus is making sure we go through every test. But all in all, he's in a good frame of mind."
Some tests have been completed — all the tests on Thursday came back negative — and there will be more in the coming days.
"We're not going to leave any stone unturned," Treliving said. "There's no set timetable for TJ's return. The good news is that he's come through everything so far. He's doing good and is on the mend."
Further medical testing
Brodie will be under the supervision of Dr. Ian Auld, head of the Flames medical staff.
"At this point we don't have all the information — we still have a few more tests to go — but it's very likely related more to a fainting episode than it is something significant inside the brain," said Auld. Brodie's next battery of tests will be conducted by a neurology team.
"We've got some specialists lined up that will do some testing to look at the brain side of things," said Auld. "He'll also see a general internal medicine person and we'll do a workup on the cardiology side of things, so those are the types of testing — there are many — that will go on in that scope."
Treliving praised the fast response of the club's training staff.
"I can't thank the work of the medical team enough. You saw the best in the business in action, live and in colour there."
The same sentiment was echoed by Travis Hamonic.
"We're a family in our room. The players and trainers, we all have such an amazing relationship and we're all friends at the end of the day as well," said Hamonic. "So I couldn't imagine what it was like for our trainers in particular to be going out there and having to work on a friend."
While the news so far is positive, Thursday's events were still very fresh.
"An unnerving situation on the ice, very unnerving," said coach Bill Peters. "I've never seen that. Never been a part of it. I thought our medical staff and our doctors and first responders did a fantastic job."
Players spoke to how not knowing the situation was the most difficult part.
"You don't know what to think," said Mark Giordano, Brodie's longtime defence partner. "There's a ton of emotions going through you. Different thoughts going through your mind. You don't really know what's going on so it was emotional for us."
Travis Hamonic says it was the type of thing that puts hockey in context.
"It's a scary, real-life moment. It's one of those things that snaps you back in reality and you forget hockey and everything else that's around it," said the defenceman.
The past 24 hours have also shown how beloved Brodie is in Calgary's dressing room. He's been with the organization since being drafted by the Flames in 2008.
"TJ's a strong guy, he's a proud guy, he's a quiet guy, but he's got a lot of respect from the coaching staff and his teammates and you can see that," said Peters.
Rattled after the day's events, relief for the players began to set in when a group of them went to the hospital to see him late in the day on Thursday.
"We saw him on the ice, then we saw him going to the ambulance. You want to see him in a better state," said Sean Monahan. "It was a huge relief to see him laughing and smiling and being back to his normal self."
Once they could tell he was fine, the mood lightened.
"Really reassuring to go to the hospital to see him back to acting normal and joking around and just being the same old Brods," said Giordano.
In a related roster move, the Flames have recalled defenceman Oliver Kylington from Stockton of the American Hockey League. He will meet the club in Arizona, giving the team seven healthy defencemen. Brandon Davidson was called up a week ago, but hasn't yet dressed for a game. Kylington has played 14 NHL games this season.
Peters admits that getting focused back on the game won't be easy.
"I didn't think we were flying today," Peters said about Friday's practice. "So it's going to linger for a little bit, for sure."