Rangers' Mats Zuccarello couldn't speak after taking slapshot to head

New York Rangers' Mats Zuccarello said he couldn't speak for four days after taking slapshot to head

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."

After Zuccarello's comments, the Rangers posted on their Twitter account that he is expected to make a full recovery and should be ready for training camp in September. The team also said Zuccarello was skating on his own last week before Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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