“Facing the possibility of never playing the game again is one of the scariest things I’ve ever been confronted with. I’ve dealt with the death of a parent, my own mental health battles and other hurdles in life, but none of that seems as difficult as the thought of never again playing the very game that got me through those events.
In March of this year I was in a car accident that gave me my sixth concussion and severe whiplash that seems to only get worse as the months go by. Four weeks after that, I had knee surgery to replace my torn ACL from a prior hockey injury. I thought the year recovery period from surgery would give my body the time it needed to heal, but so far that hasn’t been the case.
Every day I wake up hoping that I’ll be able to turn my head without the feeling of knives slicing my neck. I hope I’ll be able to do regular activities and maybe even workout without being overcome with dizziness. I pray I’ll make it through the day without a migraine or getting a panic attack from the anxiety. Then, I go to bed hoping that it’ll all go away so I can finally sleep. It hasn’t happened yet.
The one thing I want to do to deal with both the physical and emotional pain is play hockey. I want to be standing in my crease, stopping pucks and feeling a part of something again with my teammates. I want to be in control. I want to play the game that’s helped me be who I am today. The thought of never having that again because of these injuries not healing or the risk of another concussion being too high is harder to deal with than the pain I’m in every day.
Hockey has been my constant. It’s always been there for me. I have my best friends because of it. I have the man I love because of it. I have my career because of it. I have an identity because of it. I have my life because of it.
Some people may see the easy solution to everything as giving up playing—that’s not a solution for me. That’s an ending that I’m not ready to write yet. Sometimes the game gives us so much, and we give the game so much that not having it is as dangerous as what it could do to us if we keep playing.
Imagine not having the very thing that gets you out of bed every day, or the thing that makes you feel like you. Imagine not having the very thing that keeps you sane. Now try to tell me to give up hockey, because that’s what hockey is for me.
Through everything, I’m reminded of the power of hockey and how much it’s given to people. It’s not just a game. It’s a safe haven. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to return to my safe haven again, but I can tell you that I won’t stop fighting to return to it.” – Kyla Lane | Goalie | NCHL | Edmonton, AB