Ertis-Pavlodar hockey team forward Dmitri Uchaykin
Tragic news out of the Kazakhstan Vyschaya Liga, the highest professional hockey league in Kazakhstan, where Russian forward Dmitri Uchaykin has passed away the morning after being hospitalized due to a hit to the head.
Uchaykin suited up Saturday night for his club, HC Ertis-Pavlodar, in a game versus HC Arystan. Midway through the game, he was knocked unconscious on a high hit from Arystan forward Donatas Kumeliuskas.
He was taken immediately to hospital, lapsing into a coma on the way there. The following morning, he died. Uchaykin was 33 years old.
It goes without saying that this is the nightmare scenario in professional hockey right now. The speed of the game has increased, as has the strength of the players. But the human brain remains as fragile as ever.
Hits to the head have become a hot topic in hockey over the past few years, as the governing bodies of the sport have made strides towards taking headshots more seriously. Clearly, more strides are required.