Student hit in face by fly-away puck

Gabe Davis

An ISU student was hit in the face and seriously injured by a errant hockey puck Saturday night at an ISU hockey game against Western Michigan.Dan Blumhagen, senior in transportation and logistics, was sitting in the fifth row of the stands at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena with friends when a Western Michigan hockey player hit the puck over the wall and out of the rink.The Western Michigan team was down a player on the ice due to a penalty and was clearing the puck to keep it out of the defensive zone, said Al Murdoch, head coach for the ISU hockey team.”I didn’t even know it was coming, ’til it hit me in the face,” Blumhagen said.Sitting with Blumhagen was his twin brother, David, who saw Dan get hit.”I saw it flying through the air, but I didn’t have any time to react,” said David, senior in management information systems. “Before I could even turn my head, I heard the thud of the puck hitting his face, and I said ‘Oh, God.'”When David looked over, Dan was holding his hand over his mouth. When he took it off, “blood gushed everywhere and fragments of teeth fell out of his mouth,” David said.Dan ran down the bleachers to the floor aisle and laid on his stomach. He tried to sit up a few times, but kept choking on his blood, David said. “I sat there and held his head and picked up his teeth that were just sitting there in the blood he was spitting out onto the floor,” David said.Cpt. Mike Smith with the Ames Police was on the scene when the accident occurred, and radioed for the ambulance to come. Dan was rushed to Mary Greeley Hospital, where he received emergency care for a broken upper jaw, torn bottom lip and six chipped teeth that will all need root canals, he said. “After I get the stitches taken out of my lip, I’ll look pretty normal again — until I open my mouth,” said Dan, who is staying with his brother Brian while he recuperates. Dan said he’s disappointed with the ice arena’s safety measures.”I just think that the facility should try harder to protect students,” Dan said. “You don’t expect to go to a hockey game and get hurt.”It will take months and many surgeries before Dan’s mouth will be fixed, and even then, he’ll be left with at least six false teeth and an enormous medical bill, he said.”It also sucks because this is my last semester at Iowa State, and I don’t get to enjoy myself,” Dan said. “I was going to go on spring break to Florida, and the doctor says that I may not be able to because of my root-canal surgeries.”Since the accident, people have been very supportive, Dan said. “I’d like to thank everyone who got me flowers and letters, and I’d like to especially thank my brother and the athletic trainer who were there for me,” he said.