Wild D Keith Ballard taken to hospital after hitting head on boards
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard left Tuesday night's game and was taken to a local hospital after a scary-looking hit into the boards.
Ballard turned away from a hit from New York Islanders forward Matt Martin and appeared to hit his head on the boards near the New York bench and then fell to the ice. Ballard's head hit the ice and he was down on the ice for several minutes while tended to by medical personnel.
The team announced Ballard was conscious and was taken to Regions Hospital for further evaluation and observation.
Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo said he hadn't had a chance to see a replay of the collision and didn't see what happened live.
"Where it was on the bench, I couldn't even see him on the ice, so all I could see, I stood up a little bit to see what was going on and it was scary," Yeo said after the game, in which the Wild overcame a three-goal deficit after the incident to beat the Islanders 5-4.
Ballard, 32, was motionless for a moment with his arms outstretched. He ended up getting to his knees before being helped off the ice while on his skates. A stretcher was brought out immediately for Ballard, but wasn't used.
Ballard's defensive partner, Nate Prosser, was one of the first Minnesota players to respond and went after Martin while Ballard was still on the ice.
Asked if Ballard was convulsing, Prosser said: "It appeared like it. I know he had a few cuts on his face and I think his head hit the dasher because there was blood on the dasher. That's something we never want to see in this sport."
"It was scary," Prosser said of seeing Ballard on the ice, pausing for a moment before continuing. "It was just kind of tough to see him down like that. Just praying for him."
Martin wasn't penalized on the play. A replay appeared to show Martin possibly hitting Ballard with his forearm.
Wild forward Kyle Brodziak initiated a fight with Martin during Martin's next shift and both were out five minutes for fighting.
"I don't think Martin's a dirty player and wasn't penalized," said Minnesota forward Thomas Vanek, who played with the Islanders last season. "But from what I heard of it, to me, it's a dumb decision. ... I'm sure it wasn't his intentions. It was sickening, but we took the emotions the right way and deserved to win and we played hard for him."
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