Douglas Critch

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
this is a story telling the success that led to tragedy in a young boys life while doing what he loved most.

Submitted: October 28, 2012

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Submitted: October 28, 2012



April 5th 2010 was a day never to be forgotten. Douglas Critch, a seventeen years old student attending Cape John Collegiate of La Scie, Newfoundland.  Involved in a near death accident while playing minor hockey, and later realised the injury sustained, has only happened to six other people in the world, this is Doug’s story.

In November of 2009, Doug’s hockey team, the La Scie Jets were without a goalie. The team was aware that his father had just purchased goalie gear for recreation hockey. Once they told the Coach Neil Ward this, he was extremely eager to recruit Doug. He kept calling his house insisting for him to play; he even called Doug’s father (a former Herder Memorial champ), at work trying to seek his encouragement for Doug. Persistence paid off and Doug decided to give it a try.

After only one week of hockey, Doug experienced normal aches and pains from tiring practices. It surprised him that he was improving so fast. He attended practice for only two weeks when he played his first game in the net; they lost horribly which put him and his teammates down. What was more upsetting, the teams losing streak lasted for the rest of the season, they never won a game. Since the team was playing so poorly throughout the season, the coach decided to recruit three more players that were recently cut from another team.

Both Doug and his Father drove to the provincial tournament Doug said to his dad, “there’s no point to drive in here, were not going to win a game; we lost every game so far”, but his dad replied, “Doug, just try your best, all it takes is one goal to make the other team feel threatened, you guys will do fine”. The father’s words were comforting but Doug still felt very nervous and a little nauseous.

The whistle blew as the puck dropped, it was terrifying but at the same time, Doug never felt so alive. The game was fast paced however they managed to work hard enough to keep the score close. As the third period started he looked up in the crowd to see my family. There stood his brother, who had flown in all the way from British Columbia (as he works in the Navy), to watch him play in the tournament. The team grew tired. The other team had already scored two goals; the jets lost the first game of the tournament. They were like animals in the dressing room; all so angry and upset. As soon has the coach walked in they knew to be silent and listen. The Coach questioned the team, “What happened in this period? Why did you guys give up?” they just sat and stared, all too angry to give a response.

The next day was game two. Doug was shaking in fear while skating to the net. After first period the team was up three to two, they were excited to play the next period. Half way through second period they were winning five to two, things were finally looking up.  The other team made a shot, Doug stretched across the net to try and save it, Doug then suddenly felt a snap in his ribs. He jumped up and told his team mates that he was fine however telling one player that he was hurt. Doug pleaded with him not to tell the coach as he wanted to continue playing in the game. His team mate skated away shaking his head. Down the other end of the ice while the puck was in play, the crowed stood watching and cheering as the team finally got a goal while in the other net Doug laid flat on the ice.

The last thing Doug recalled seeing was the puck getting shot towards the opponent’s net, he then blacked out; The first thing he could remember after he had gained consciousness, was the team trainer, squirting water on his face while shaking him trying to get Doug to react. When he came to, he was urging uncontrollably and finding it hard to breathe. The trainer and his team mates assisted Doug to the bench. The coach then said he would call off the game, another team  offered the Jets their back-up goalie, however when Doug heard this he jumped to his feet and told his team he’d pull through to finish the tournament with or without his parents or his coach’s consent. Doug continued playing in the net and for the first time the Jets won. All of Doug’s team mates skated towards him and jumped, forming a pile on top of him, the feeling of satisfaction was so empowering, Doug felt no pain at that moment, however after the game was over, his pain became excruciating .

As soon as Doug had taken his equipment off, his family and Coach rushed him to the doctor. When they arrived to the hospital the doctor told him that his ribs had over lapped, causing him to lose his breath, this is what caused him to pass out; the doctor reassured Doug that if he felt well enough to continue playing in the tournament then he could proceed. The next morning Doug was up bright and early. He had never been more ready to play. The Jets played two games that day, winning both of them. As a result of winning the two games, the team had a record of three wins and one loss which led the Jets to the championship game .While the team put their equipment on their coach walked in. The Coach gave his team a speech,” you guys can do this! We may have been called the slum dogs, and we’ve been talked about all season. After all of this, do you know why we can win this championship? It’s because we have heart.” The coach’s speech encouraged the team to go out on the ice and give it all they had.

 As the first period ended, the Jets were down by two points. The team was discouraged, but the Coach told them to keep working for what they deserved, and that’s exactly what the team did. The second period began, The Jets managed to tie the game up. As they went into the third period the score was three to three. The score remained that way until there were only forty five seconds left on the clock, that’s when one of the teammates had a break away and scored. The crowd went wild in the stands, as they cheered the Jets on. The puck went back into play for the last few seconds. The opposing team pulled their goalie, the Jets lost control of the puck. That’s when of one of Doug’s team mates slapped the puck from the blue line and scored on the empty net. The sound of the buzzer rang throughout the stadium. Doug and his team mates realised that they had won the championship game; they all went crazy with excitement, after having a losing streak all year long, they had won the provincial trophy. Doug felt wonderful which made all his pains disappear.

Doug drove home that night expecting to go to bed. After having such an exhausting day, however when he arrived in his home town (La Scie, NL), there was a motorcade to celebrate the Jets victory. The motorcade began at one side of the town to the other. Everyone on the team assembled on a flatbed truck, while they were drove around town hoisting the trophy for everyone to see. The whole town and the Jets celebrated that night, however Doug was in way too much pain, and he could barely breathe. The next morning, Doug couldn’t move he felt paralyzed. His parents became very worried, as they drove him to baie verte hospital. During all of this Doug’s sister was living in Nova Scotia. She had to take a leave off of work as she was so worried; she had to call her family to find out how Doug was doing. She didn’t know if he was dead or alive as the only information she knew about her brother’s accident the read on face book. After waiting only a few minutes the doctor arrived, after examining Doug, he immediately rushed him to Grandfalls Windsor on an ambulance. A doctor was assigned to go on the ambulance with him, as they thought they would have to insert a trachea in Doug because of his difficulty breathing. Also the doctor wasn’t sure if Doug was going to make it to Grandfalls hospital, no one knew what to expect.

Doug was admitted in Grandfalls hospital all that day, when the doctor suddenly decided to discharge him from the hospital. Doug’s parents did not agree with this decision as they both thought that their son should stay overnight. They could see that their son was still in so much pain. However the doctor assured them that Doug was fine, with that the family left the hospital. That night the Critch family wouldn’t risk to drive the three hours back to their home town, instead they all stayed at Doug’s Aunts house in Lewisport for the night as it was only a half hour outside of Grandfalls. Around 4 o’clock the next morning Doug awoke with excruciating pain in his chest once again however this time he couldn’t move. Once again he was rushed back to the hospital. This time he was admitted for five days. He had what felt like to be a hundred tests done, when the results finally came back it showed that Doug had broken four of his ribs, punctured a lung, broke his finger, and to top it all of he had pneumonia.

When Doug’s ribs broke, the bone punctured his lung causing the air to escape into his arms, neck and surrounding his heart. What seemed to stump all of the Doctors was that the air also went to his spinal cord. This is what was making Doug partially paralyzed until the air escaped. The doctor called a hospital in Toronto and not one of the doctors there had heard of such a thing before either. The doctor then decided to check on Google however he still didn’t get any satisfaction, there didn’t seem like there was an explanation for what Doug was going through. He then learned after talking to doctors in another hospital, that there had only been six cases of this known to ever exist in the world. The doctors couldn’t explain how Doug managed to play three hockey games with all of the injuries that he had sustained; they told him that he must have had a big adrenaline rush to pull through all of that pain.

The first week that Doug was discharged out of hospital CBC and NTV (news stations) were calling to do a story about him. While getting interviewed, he made sure that his team mates were included in the story as well; the reason they won the championship was because they all pulled together and united as a team and took the gold.

Today Doug is still recovering from the fatal injuries he endured. He has had many medical tests and is still waiting on results. Doug is now waiting on appointments for further tests. Currently Doug is back on the ice, playing the game he will forever love, once again. The pain and agony he went through wasn’t enough to keep him off the ice first or last. He finally found a sport that he truly loves and will never give up.  

Getting the information for this story wasn’t hard at all, for all I had to do to find Doug was take a look in the mirror to see him, I am Doug Critch and I’m a survivor.


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