New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello has disclosed the extent of injuries he suffered after taking a slapshot to the head during a playoff game in April, underlining the often-overlooked dangers involving with vulcanized rubber being slapped around at speeds approaching 100 mph.
During Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 24, Zuccarello was hit in the head on a slapshot by teammate Ryan McDonagh.
The Rangers later announced Zuccarello was out indefinitely but did not disclose his injuries. There were reports the 27-year-old Norwegian had suffered a major concussion, but the team wouldn't confirm it.
FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this story stated Zuccarello is Swedish. He is Norwegian.
During Monday's team exit interviews, Zuccarello revealed he had suffered a fractured skull and a brain contusion. He also temporarily lost the ability to speak and move one of his arms.
"There was a small fracture in my head," Zuccarello told reporters, according to the New York Daily News. "I lost my talking and some feeling in my arm and stuff. I was in the hospital for three days. I couldn't talk for awhile. I had a contusion, some blood in my brain. That affects a lot.
"I went to speech therapy," he continued. "I'm getting much better. I couldn't say a word for four days.... I feel much better and I'm getting better and better."