After collapsing on the ice just prior to a game in November, Craig Cunningham is on the road to recovery.
The captain of the Tuscon Roadrunners (AHL affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes) suffered a “medical emergency” before the team's game against the Manitoba Moose on Nov. 19. He appeared to convulse after hitting the ice and medics cut away his jersey before performing chest compressions. Eventually, he was transported from the rink to a nearby hospital by ambulance.
Cunningham, 26, has spent time at the NHL level with both the Coyotes and Boston Bruins.
While the circumstances of the medical emergency still are largely unknown to the public, teammates say Cunningham has made a lot of progress. This week, a few of them FaceTimed with Cunningham, who is still in the hospital.
“He's awake, he's alert, had a good little chat with him and tried to boost his spirits a little bit,” said Roadrunners forward Christian Fisher, via KVOA. “It was nice to see him smile. He was cracking jokes just as if he were here the next day. It was pretty funny. He said he wanted us to come pick him up and take him to the rink. He was joking around. Stuff like that.”
Fisher's chat with Cunningham seems to build off the update given by Edmonton Oilers forward Milan Lucic in late November. A week after the incident, Lucic went to the hospital to visit Cunningham, who he played alongside in Boston. He also sounded optimistic.
“The good news is he's progressed a lot from the state he was in last weekend,” Lucic said, via NHL.com. “He's heading in the right direction, but obviously there's a lot more progression and healing to be done. I can't go into [details] too much more than that.”
As Cunningham continues to make progress, support for him certainly doesn't seem to be waning.
“Love you, and we will see ya soon,” said Fisher and fellow teammate Brandon Burlon in a message relayed by KVOA. “We know you are a battler and we have full faith you will make a full recovery.”