Milford boys hockey player Aiden Collins agrees after blade slices through wrist

MILFORD – Aiden Collins was not in pain. In fact, he didn’t feel anything.

But when Collins tried to get ice and get up at Buffone Arena in Worcester on Saturday, Hopedale / Milford hockey player saw blood spurting from his left arm.

“I look at my wrist and I see all the blood and that’s when I started screaming for help,” Collins said.

Seconds before – on his third shift of the season – the Milford High rookie had received a pass from his older brother, Cam. The two siblings were playing together on the same row for the first time in a college hockey game.

As Collins tried to get the puck out of the Hopedale / Milford area, two Grafton / BVT players collided with the 5-foot-6 forward. Collins’ left glove then slipped before one of the opposing players’ skates cut off Collins’ left wrist and left a deep gash.

“As soon as he tried to take a step to retrieve his glove, it was like an oil pan had come out of a car,” said Collins’ father Mike.

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Quick assistants made the difference

When Hopedale / Milford coach Mike MacQuarrie saw blood spurting from Collins’ left wrist, the third-year head coach leapt into action. He rushed to the ice before play was stopped.

“I wanted to get to it as quickly as possible,” MacQuarrie said.

At this point, MacQuarrie applied pressure to Collins’ left arm. The hockey coach thought his player may have severed an artery, so he squeezed as hard as he could and acted like a human tourniquet.

Shortly after MacQuarrie reached Collins, Grafton’s athletic trainer Sarah Mealy wrapped Collins’ wrist in gauze. They kept Collins’ arm elevated above his heart while MacQuarrie supported the weight of the 150-pound Milford player.

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“It was all a blur,” MacQuarrie said. “I didn’t want him to pass out.”

“The stream of blood, and everything that followed, looked like a blur,” Mealy said.

Donna McGee, whose son, Sean, is the other member of the Collins brothers line, rushed to the surface of the ice once she saw blood. A full-time nurse at Memorial Elementary School in Milford and a part-time emergency room nurse, McGee lent a hand.

“I wanted to offer my support and help in any way I could,” she said. “He was so pale and he said he needed air.”

Milford High School freshman Aiden Collins (right) with his brother Cam, who is a senior hockey captain, and his father, Mike, outside their Milford home on December 15, 2021 Collins, who plays the Hopedale-Milford cooperative varsity hockey team, suffered a severe laceration to his left wrist during a hockey game on Dec. 11.  Three days later, he underwent surgery to repair severed tendons on his left wrist.

With additional help from Collins ‘father and McGee’s husband, the impromptu triage unit – standing in puddles of blood on the ice – was able to cut off Collins’ elbow, shirt and shoulder pads. Then they wrapped a rubber tourniquet around his left arm.

Within 10 minutes of the incident, paramedics arrived and put Collins on a stretcher and took him and his mother, Tina, to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.

Coincidentally, 15 years earlier to the day, on December 11, 2006, Tina gave birth early with Collins. He was born 19 days later.

It marked her first ambulance ride with her youngest son and on Saturday she had her second – the same day. It was then that Collins saw an exposed bone from his open wound.

“I didn’t feel it was that bad,” said Collins, 15. “But when I saw him, I knew I needed help right away.… I thought I was going to have to lose my arm on the way to the hospital.

Aiden Collins, a freshman at Milford High School, in his bedroom on December 15, 2021. Collins was seriously injured on December 11 during a hockey game for the Hopedale-Milford Co-op team when an opponent's skate cut his left wrist.  .  Three days later, Collins underwent surgery to repair the severed tendons on his left wrist.

At the hospital, doctors tested Collins’ fingers and range of motion. He couldn’t really move his index finger or thumb, but other than that, doctors were optimistic that he could make a full recovery after the operation.

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Three days later, Collins underwent a 3.5 hour operation that repaired 5 and a half tendons and two nerves. He returned home later that night with a large blue plaster cast on his left arm.

“The kid didn’t shed a tear,” his father said.

“The doctors said maybe they saved my life,” Collins said. “They said if there was a chance that I was going to die, it was taken away by these people on the ice and I am very grateful for these people.”

Support from the Hopedale / Milford team

Ahead of Collins’ surgery on Tuesday, players from the Hopedale / Milford hockey team visited their injured teammate at his home. They offered their best wishes and gave Collins a red t-shirt with “Scarlet Hawk Of the Week” engraved in white letters.

“Saturday night was traumatic for everyone out there and you never want that to happen to anyone,” said Milford High junior and assistant captain Joey Mahoney. “This freak accident brought this team much closer than we already were. I have never felt such a strong bond with a team that I have never been on.

“The whole team is going to give their all for the person to your left and your right, and even more for Aiden,” said Mahoney.

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A motivated big brother

Later that day, Hopedale / Milford finished their first game of the year with a 6-1 win over St. Paul as their first game of the season with Grafton / BVT was postponed following the incident. . Collins’ older brother scored three goals and added two assists in a motivated effort.

“I’m not done yet, however, this entire season is for Aiden,” said Cam, 17.

“He’s had a different look since Saturday,” Mike said of Cam, who is a senior at Milford High. “We’ll see what happens; I know he’s going to play inspired for his brother.

What the future holds for Aiden Collins

Collins has a three month window for his recovery. Despite the setback on the ice, Collins is happy to be doing well. He will be back to school on Monday and he has appreciated all the support from his family, friends, teammates and the hockey community.

“I knew people were going to pray for me, but I didn’t think it would be so overwhelming,” he said. “But I’m just thankful for it all and it got me through it.”

Milford High School freshman Aiden Collins home on December 15, 2021. Collins, who plays on the Hopedale-Milford co-op college hockey team, was seriously injured by an opponent's skate on December 11 .  On December 14, he had surgery to repair the severed tendons on his left wrist.

The hard-working winger hopes to return to the ice soon. Collins has previously told his hockey coach that he is trying to come back and play for Hopedale / Milford this season.

“We look forward to his return,” said MacQuarrie. “I can’t wait for him to come back to play hockey. “

“It’s kind of him in a nutshell,” Mike said. “It’s that guy. … He’s going through the worst. Judging by his demeanor I think he will be fine and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the ice again.

“To be continued.”

Tommy Cassell is a senior multimedia reporter for the Daily News. He can be contacted at tcassell@wickedlocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @ tommycassell44.

Catherine J. Martinez