Horrific Anniversary This Week For Buffalo Sabres Fans
For years to come, Buffalo residents will know exactly where they were when Damar Hamlin collapsed.
We don’t need to go over the stressful details again, but it’s important to remind ourselves that Hamlin has made a remarkable recovery.
He’s now thriving as an international celebrity, and we look forward to seeing him back with the Buffalo Bills next season.
Hamlin’s ordeal reminded many Buffalo sports fans of another heartbreaking incident; one that happened in front of their eyes to one of their favorite players over 30 years ago.
Warning: Graphic details ahead.
Clint Malarchuk Neck Injury Happened 34 Years Ago This Week
On March 22, 1989, Buffalo Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk nearly lost his life in front of millions watching on TV.
During a home game against the St. Louis Blues, Blues player Steve Tuttle slammed into the Sabres’ Uwe Krupp in the crease during a rough play. The blade of Tuttle's skate sliced the goalie’s carotid artery and jugular vein, sending blood gushing onto the ice.
Although television broadcasts of the game quickly cut away, anyone watching realized something was very, very wrong.
Fans inside Buffalo Memorial Auditorium watched in stunned silence as Malarchuk was helped off the ice and the mess was cleaned up.
The scene was so graphic that it caused eleven spectators to faint and two to suffer heart attacks. Three players also vomited on the ice after witnessing the amount of blood.
Clint Malarchuk later admitted that he didn’t think he was going to make it, asking a staff member to call his mother and requesting a priest to administer last rites.
"My mother was watching the game on TV, and I didn't want her to see me die." - Clint Malarchuk
Sabres Athletic Trainer Saved Malarchuk’s Life
Similar to Damar Hamlin’s incident, quick action from a heroic member of the Sabres’ staff saved Clint Malarchuk’s life.
Seconds after the accident, athletic trainer Jim Pizzutelli rushed onto the ice and pinched off the wound. After ushering Malarchuk to safety, he applied pressure to the injury until emergency teams arrived to take him to the hospital.
Where is Clint Malarchuk Now?
Understandably, Clint Malarchuk suffered through years of trauma afterwards.
Thankfully, after battling PTSD, alcoholism and a suicide attempt, he came out the other side as a survivor.
Malarchuk is now an active mental health advocate. He speaks openly about the accident and the struggles that followed, inspiring others going through mental illness and recovery.
Through his public speaking engagements and his 2014 memoir, he has potentially saved thousands of lives.
Clint Malarchuk is an amazing example of someone who can overcome something so emotionally scarring and use it to do great things for the world.
Sabres fans couldn’t be more proud.