A member of the RDC Kings hockey team is recovering after undergoing emergency brain surgery over the weekend.
Nick Fountain, a 23-year-old third-year forward from Wainwright, suffered an arteriovenous malformation hemorrhage Friday night while playing in a rec hockey tournament in Edmonton. The incident resulted in Fountain being rushed to the nearby U of A Hospital where he underwent emergency neurosurgery to stop the bleeding.
Kings Head Coach Trevor Keeper says Fountain is heavily sedated and recovering in ICU where he is expected to stay for the next few weeks.
Keeper says he found out about the incident early Saturday morning when one of his assistant coaches heard through a parent that Fountain was in hospital. Keeper then reached out to Fountain’s brother, Dustin, a former student of his and a teacher in Lacombe.
“I think he said it started with some sharp pains he was having behind his eye,” says Keeper. “Then he was in and out of consciousness and luckily they got him to the hospital quick enough. They did emergency neurosurgery on Friday night and were very fortunate he was able to get looked after quickly.”
Keeper says doctors have since stopped the hemorrhaging and are now monitoring the swelling on Fountain’s brain but point out the surgery was successful.
Fountain is expected to remain sedated until at least Tuesday before reassessing his progress.
“Between this happening to Nick and some of our players that have played with some of the Humboldt Broncos, it’s definitely been tough,” laments Keeper. “We’ve been messaging Nick and he’s not aware of that yet but guys are planning on going up to visit him as soon as we can. I’m going to be heading up there on Friday and hopefully we’ll be able to see him Friday morning.”
Keeper describes Fountain as one of the team’s grittiest players.
“We often joke that he’s the best player in the ACAC in a five-foot radius. He just battles really hard and competes hard and never backs down from anything,” Keeper said.
“I know that he gets under the skin of opposition players, but we’ve had over 500 responses on our twitter report about his condition. Lots of those responses are coming from other players on other teams in the league and guys he played junior with and against, so I know that he’s on a lot of people’s minds.”
Off the ice, Keeper describes Fountain as one of the best teammates anyone could ask for.
“He does whatever he can for the group. He’s an intelligent kid, his hope is to get into law school and he’s completed three years here and he’s transferring on to the University of Alberta. He's just really loved and respected by all of his teammates and he’s a close friend to everyone on the team.”
Keeper says the team has put a few things together including restaurant gift cards to help Fountain’s family.
“It’s a stressful time, it’s the end of school and he won’t be able to finish the semester,” Keeper points out. “We’re just trying to make sure that everything is taken care of so his family doesn’t have to worry about that. They have enough to deal with just being at the hospital with him.”
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