Craig Cunningham's road to recovery

After suffering a massive heart attack on November 19th before puck drop, captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, Craig Cunningham has a long way to go before coming back to the game, if he comes back.

Most of us remember the events that took place on November 19th when captain Craig Cunningham collapsed before the puck dropped as the Roadrunners were to take on the Manitoba Moose. It was result of a heart failure that nearly claimed the 26 year old's life. Doctors were fearful that an infection that had started in his leg may complicate Cunningham's road to recovery and thought they might need to amputate. They did so on December 24th.

When a guy stares death in the face and lives to tell the story. Goes through 83 minutes of CPR just to stay alive, he only had one simple request. Don't focus on the amputation when there was a large bright side, all you could do is respect his request. Cunningham has full faith in the doctors' decisions and accepted the idea of them amputating a part of his left leg. It is set to function normally once he's fitted with prosthetics once the healing is done.

Cunningham and his family are set to see how they are going to live and what's next.

Every time I think about how I can't play anymore, I just think back to the fact that I'm lucky I'm not 10 feet under. Cunningham told ESPN.com on Monday evening from Banner-University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. If I have to sacrifice playing hockey to be alive, which is a tough pill to swallow for sure, it's been my whole life since I was 4 years old. It's time for me to move on. 
He still thinks about the events that kept him alive today, the trainers that had lightning flash reflexes to get into action to the firefighters who were there to play the national anthem with bagpipes but performed CPR to all the doctors and nurses that made the right decisions at the right times and cared for him during his stay.

Watch his collapse:



Cunningham's doctor performed an advanced procedure called ECMO that saved his life. The procedure has only been used 3 other times, ever.

We had to decompress his heart and I think doing that with it and using it in a novel way to fully decompress his heart to allow it to function properly. His heart started functioning literally soon after that. He was only in for 5 days and his heart had full recovery. Doctor Kain Khalphey, stated during a press conference. 

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