12-Year-Old Female Hockey Player Suffers Stroke

If you’re going to play hockey for a living, you have to be pretty tough. Whether you’re taking a cross-check to the back of the dome, or laying out on the ice to block that slapshot, odds are playing hockey is going to hurt at some point. The sport just isn’t designed for the weak-willed.

Which is why I believe little Jamie Coyle’s dream is going to come true someday. The 12-year old from Rhode Island has wanted to be a hockey player ever since she was three years old when she insisted her mother buy her hockey skates instead of figure skates. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a while before Jamie plays hockey again, as she suffered a stroke on the ice almost three weeks ago.


Although she has not yet fully regained her speech, Jamie has no problem finding the words when asked if she will play hockey again.

“I know I will,” says Jamie, without hesitation, from her hospital bed at the UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, where she has been since collapsing during a hockey game on Aug. 9.

“I’m still just waiting to wake up from this whole nightmare,” says Sharon Coyle, who hasn’t left her daughter’s side and vows not to walk through the front door of their Cumberland house until Jamie is ready to walk through it with her. “This is the scariest thing I’ve ever been through in my life. I still just feel numb. I just pray and pray and pray and say, ‘God help me. Help her. Help us get through this.’ ”

Jamie had just scored a goal to give her team a 2-0 lead before heading to the bench for a line change. She was on the bench for a few minutes before her next shift, but as she got back on the ice, she collapsed. At first her coaches thought she had just tripped, but when she didn’t get back up and wasn’t responding to anyone, they knew something far worse was going on.

Poor Jamie never lost conciousness and remembers the whole ordeal.

“I remember being on the bench and having a really bad headache and not being able to talk,” says Jamie. “I turned to go onto the ice and the next thing I knew, I was falling down on the bench. I remember everyone trying to talk to me. I was frustrated because I couldn’t talk to them. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what.”

The good news for Jamie is that while in the hospital the last few weeks she has regained movement in her right leg (though her right arm is still immobile) and can talk again. Still, she’s not out of the woods quite yet and still has a ways to go.

Though I have no doubt she’ll get there and be back on the ice before she knows it.