Boston University athletic trainer Larry Venis — credited with saving Travis Roy’s life when the freshman was paralyzed on the ice in October 1995 — narrowly avoided a tragic fate of his own last Friday night when hit by a puck on the bench during the Terriers’ 2-2 tie at Merrimack.
“He got hit directly in the head by one of our guys hitting the puck out of the zone,” Terrier Coach Jack Parker said. “He didn’t see it coming. It’s a real dangerous rink there [at Merrimack], the way that both benches and the penalty boxes are all on the same side. Puts both benches way in the zone, so that’s when it’s real dangerous: guys firing pucks out of the zone. Plus it’s a real narrow bench too. They’ll have to do something about that; I think they had plans on doing that when they finished the rink, but right now it’s a pathetic situation.”
Venis initially appeared to be okay and showed no immediate signs of serious injury until well after the game. “He’s a lucky guy, to tell you the truth, he’s a very lucky guy,” Parker said.
“It was a very dangerous situation: He wound up with a lot of blood on the brain, a lot of bleeding on the brain, a lot of pressure on the brain, some particles of his skull in his brain, but I’ve seen him three times now, and he’s gotten better and better.”
Venus was in the intensive care unit for several days, and he remained hospitalized one week after the incident. However, all signs thankfully now point to a complete recovery.
“There’s not going to be any ramifications for full recovery — no physical ramifications, no mental ramifications,” added Parker. “Just a matter of time. The only trouble is he’s going to have a wear a helmet on the bench now, and he’s going to be very, very upset about that, I’m sure.
“But he’ll be back — I don’t know how soon, but he’ll be back pretty soon, I’m sure. When he gets back, he’s going to be Larry Venis, that’s for sure.”
Hockey fans wishing to send cards or notes to Venis can do so by writing to Larry Venis, c/o Boston University Athletic Training Office, 285 Babcock Street, Boston, MA 02215.