On November 19, 2016, the captain of Tucson Roadrunners Craig Cunningham fell on the ice after the resumption of the national anthem. Cunningham's heart stopped, and after a five-month miraculous recovery, which included amputating part of his left leg, he began to skate again.
Cunningham has now taken his skate to the next level by creating a custom prosthesis including a skate blade.
The prosthesis was made with a Tuuk blade, which would normally be at the bottom of a skate shoe.
The pad allows him to move more freely on the ice, to make cross turns and even back, but not to the desired height.
"I still can not go back," Cunningham said with a bit of humor.
The recovery of Cunningham was a blessing and a wonder. After the incident on the ice, the hockey player suffered 85 minutes of CPR. While undergoing life-saving surgery, his heart was stopped again and he had to undergo numerous surgeries in the following weeks.
"Every time I think about how I can not play anymore, I'm just thinking back to [the fact that] I'm lucky not to have ten feet underground, "Cunningham told ESPN's Craig Custance in January 2017." If I have to sacrifice playing hockey to be alive – and that it is a hard pill to swallow, it is safe all my life since the age of four, it is time that I move on to something else.
Cunningham had to sacrifice his job as a professional hockey player, but was hired by the Coyotes as scout in May 2017. He still had his dream of going to the NHL – but in a different way – just like his skating.