Adam Johnson died after suffering catastrophic blood loss, following a skate to the neck (Picture: Getty)
Nottingham Panthers player Johnson, 29, tragically died after Sheffield Steelers star Matt Petgrave’s skate slashed his neck, leading to fatal blood loss in a freak accident that was captured on video.
In 2008, Richard Zednik suffered a neck wound and lost five pints of blood, but was able to be saved by medical treatment thanks to a fleeting decision.
Richard Zednik suffered a horror cut to the neck, but was saved thanks to a split-second decision (Picture: Getty)
He said of his accident: ‘It was like a stab, I felt like somebody stabbed me. It wasn’t the pain, it was like ‘what’s going to happen?”
Zednik quickly skated to the team’s medic bench – a split-second decision which most likely saved his life.
He was then rushed to hospital and remained in intensive care for two days – but returned to play hockey the following season.
And in 1989, goalie Clint Malarchuk had his neck cut open by a skate but was saved by a former US Army combat medic.
Clint Malarchuk suffered a horrifying injury in similar fashion in 1989(Picture: Bettmann Archive)
The goalie required an astounding 300 stitches but returned to play in the rink only days later.
The English Ice Hockey Association has now made it mandatory to wear a neck guard from the start of 2024, after Johnson’s tragic death.
The age for mandatory neck guards was already raised from age 18 to 20 in February, but there was no requirement for older players – who also wear less protective helmets.
And today, legal experts revealed the hockey player who’s skate slashed Johnson’s neck is unlikely to face prosecution.
Petgrave has already been at the centre of a racist firestorm, despite no indication that the accident was intentional.
Experts have said it is highly unlikely Petgrave will face legal action due to the tragic accident (Picture: Fox News)
Legal professor Nicola Lacey told Newsweek: ‘For manslaughter, you need either gross negligence – a really large departure from normal standards of care such as to justify criminal liability; or an unlawful and dangerous act – the latter only likely if for example there had been a pretty flagrant breach of the sport’s rules.
‘If it was really a ‘freak accident,’ neither of those tests would be met; and the CPS can only prosecute where there is a realistic chance of conviction.’
Johnson’s family witnessed the entire accident on video link, it has been revealed.
His aunt Kari told the US Sun she had been watching the clash alongside his father Davey and his grandmother from their home state of Minnesota.
She said: ‘We are broken up and shattered. We’re not doing well at all.
‘We were watching it, streaming it from the computer onto the TV. We saw what happened and we were devastated.
‘We knew right away something was not right, that something was really bad. We could see all the blood and we knew right away it was terrible.’
Meanwhile, Johnson’s mum said she lost ‘half of her heart’ following the freak accident.
Traumatised fans at the Utilita Arena Sheffield – where around 8,000 people had gathered to watch the match – wrote on social media that the injury was the ‘stuff of nightmares.’
One woman wrote: ‘That was undoubtedly the worst thing I’ve ever seen happen, I’m so sorry.’
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Only two previous neck slashing incidents have been documented in the NHL, but both players survived thanks to prompt medical treatment.