“I started playing hockey when I was two, and I love it,” he said. “I like the teamwork.”
Even in the early stages of his hockey career, he’s learned injuries won’t keep him away from the sport.
Grayson, his brother, Shay, 8, and their cousin, Braden, 12, were excited for their family vacation to East Grand Forks, Minn. They may have been a little more excited to attend UND Summer Hockey Camp.
“We plan our annual vacation here around the camp,” said Lori, Grayson and Shay’s mom. “Grayson was born here, and it’s always nice to be back around family.” The family currently resides in Helena, Mont.
While skating with brothers and cousins the night before camp, Grayson tripped. His left skate crossed over his right leg and sliced open his right thigh, just above the knee.
“I felt a tingle and looked down,” he said. “Then I screamed.”
“I knew right away he needed stiches,” said Lori. “It was pretty bad.”
When they arrived at Altru’s Emergency Outpatient Department, Lori was pleasantly surprised by how quickly they were admitted.
“I gave them Grayson’s name at the desk, and they asked for his birth date,” said Lori. “He was born here 10 years ago, and his records were still in the system. Admission was a breeze. We were back in an exam room within five minutes.”
They were then greeted by registered nurse Beth Stevens.
“Beth was wonderful and so comforting,” said Lori. “Grayson is the type of kid who asks a thousand questions. She patiently answered them all and explained what was happening in terms Grayson could understand. Beth also reassured to the other children that Grayson was going to be just fine.”
“The pediatric population is one of my favorite,” said Beth. “They are so inquisitive into their treatment. Their imagination runs wild at times, which can cause anxiety. I work hard to remember this and try to talk at their level. Grayson’s family did a wonderful job working with the physician and myself to keep Grayson calm.”
Next to arrive were a medical student and emergency medicine physician Stewart Schanzenbach. Grayson’s injury would require stitches. Numbing cream was applied, and Dr. Schanzenbach began suturing.
“Grayson didn’t even know the doctor began,” said Lori. “He kept asking, ‘When’s it going to start?’ when there was already a stitch or two in his leg.”
“We were in and out, start to finish, in less than two hours,” recalled Lori. “It simply doesn’t compare. With boys, we’ve spent our fair share of time in emergency rooms. I was so pleased with every aspect of care.”
Back in Action
Less than 24 hours after his injury, Grayson was rollerblading. He let his coaches at camp know of his injury, but he participated the whole week.
“I think the injury made him skate faster,” said Lori. “It didn’t slow him down a bit. He got right in there and fought for pucks. He’d get knocked down, but always got right back up.”
With camp complete and his leg healing, Grayson and family headed back home, where a physician will remove the stitches. Lori shared on Altru’s Facebook page her praise of their experience.
“It’s so easy to say negative things, but when someone does a good job, they should know it,” she said. “We really appreciate everything Altru did.”
Interestingly, Grayson’s injury was in the shape of a “c.” With high hockey aspirations in the future, maybe it’s a sign he’ll be a captain some day.
Have you needed care in our emergency department? Tell us about your experience.