On November 19, 2016, Tucson Roadrunners’ captain Craig Cunningham fell to the ice unconscious after the national anthem was performed. Cunningham’s heart stopped, and after a miraculous five-month recovery, which included having part of his left leg amputated, he began skating again.
Cunningham has now taken his skating to the next level, having a custom prosthetic created that includes a skate blade.
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The prosthetic was made using a Tuuk blade, one that would normally be found at the bottom of a skate boot.
The skate allows him to move more freely on the ice, doing cross over turns and even skating backward, though not to his wanted level.
“I still can’t skate backward,” Cunningham said with some humor.
Cunningham’s recovery has been a blessing and a marvel. After the on-ice incident, the hockey player underwent 85 minutes of CPR. While undergoing a life-saving surgery, his heart stopped again and he required numerous surgeries over the following weeks.
“Every time I think about how I can’t play anymore, I just think back to [the fact that] I’m lucky I’m not 10 feet under,” Cunningham said to ESPN’s Craig Custance in January 2017. “If I have to sacrifice playing hockey to be alive — and it’s a tough pill to swallow for sure, it’s been my whole life since I was four years old — it’s time for me to move on.”
Cunningham did have to sacrifice playing hockey professionally but was hired by the Coyotes as a scout in May 2017. He still realized his dream of making it to the NHL – albeit in a different way – just like his skating.
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