Young Edmonton hockey player returns to ice after serious brain injury

Lucas Perry and his family. Supplied: Randy Perry

Saturday will be a momentous hockey game for 14-year-old Lucas Perry. This weekend, he’ll return to the ice after suffering a serious brain injury less than one year ago.

On Dec. 10, 2017, the young defenceman broke his finger during a game.

While at the hospital, he needed an X-ray on his hand.

“After I came out of the X-ray, I fell over and hit my head on the floor,” Lucas explained.

“Skull fracture on the right side and brain swelling. I had to go to the Stollery (Children’s Hospital) transfer and then emergency surgery.”

The life-threatening turn of events stunned Lucas’ family.

“We ended up in a fairly simple situation, I guess — getting a finger checked out — and then it turned into a pretty dire situation that digressed pretty quickly,” his dad Randy told 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen on Thursday.

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Thanks to all the staff at the Stollery and the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Lucas is recovering.

“I’m doing good,” Lucas said. “I don’t really remember anything from when I was in intensive care. I remember coming out of intensive care but not coming out of the coma.

“I only have headaches if I’m around crazy noise. On the ice, it doesn’t affect me somehow.”

Randy is all too aware that things could have turned out much differently.

“Lucas’ story is very amazing. [The Stollery] is a place of pain and suffering but then also joy and healing at the same time.
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“We recognize that there are stories with not the same happy ending Lucas had. We’re just grateful for where he’s at and that he’s able to live his life to the fullest.”

The Perrys are turning their scary experience into a positive. On Saturday, when Lucas plays his first game since the brain injury, the family will be taking donations for the Stollery.

“We’re so thankful for the staff at Stollery,” Randy said. “We’re thankful to God for his healing, our community, our family. People rallied around us that we didn’t even know about… We have friends out there we haven’t even met yet.”

Lucas Perry, 14, is returning to the ice after a health scare. Supplied: Randy Perry
Lucas Perry playing last season with the Canadian Athletic Club. Supplied: Randy Perry
Lucas Perry on the ice at Rogers Place ahead of an Oilers game. Supplied: Randy Perry
Lucas Perry and his family. Supplied: Randy Perry
Lucas Perry, 14, is returning to the ice after suffering a serious brain injury. Supplied: Randy Perry

Randy admits it’s still scary watching his son skate. Other parents have asked him how they decided they’d let Lucas play hockey again after his injury.

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“We’re very appreciative of the gift we have of today,” Randy said. “Lucas, he’s healthy, he has a life to live in front of him. He has dreams and passions and we want to encourage him to pursue that.”

Lucas said he’s not sure what his future holds but he hopes to make it to the big leagues someday.

Something his hockey coach said recently has stayed with Lucas. He said “win” is an acronym for “what’s important now?”

“What’s important now is Lucas wants to play hockey,” Randy said. “He’s healthy enough to play and we’re going to cheer him on.

“It doesn’t matter what your kids are doing, you don’t want to see them get hurt, but emotionally [or] physically, the reality is they will,” he explained.

“That’s what I’m talking about the gift of today, the gift of right now, this opportunity to live life abundantly and so we try to embrace that.”

Anyone who would like to cheer on Lucas — and his Knights of Columbus Team — and support the Stollery can catch his hockey game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Londonderry Arena.

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