Eleven days after collapsing at practice, Calgary Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie was on the ice with the team at morning skate on Monday. The team activated him ahead of their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and according to Postmedia's Wes Gilbertson, he must be cleared by the medical staff before suiting up.
Sportsnet's Derek Wills reported that Brodie skated with Mark Giordano on the top defensive pair at the morning skate and looks ready to return to the lineup.
— Derek Wills (@Fan960Wills) November 24, 2019
Brodie re-joined the team in Philadelphia during the Flames' current four-game road trip with a game-time decision designation for Monday's game.
Brodie is a game-time decision for tomorrow against Pittsburgh. He says he feels good. Looked great in the skate too. https://t.co/jPfZD6SNdL
— Brendan Parker (@BParkerTV) November 24, 2019
On Nov. 14, Brodie appeared to faint on the ice during a team practice and was rushed to the hospital. The team said that all medical evaluations and tests performed on him in the past 10 days have proven reassuring, but the defenseman was placed on injured reserve retroactive to the date of the episode.
The Flames confirmed that Brodie, 29, skated on his own Thursday, Nov. 21, under the supervision of medical staff and had been working out for a number of days prior — easing worries about Brodie's health after last week's scary situation.
A day after the incident, the team held a press conference with GM Brad Treliving and team doctor Ian Auld to explain what they then knew about Brodie's incident.
"All the early indications are it’s very likely more related to a fainting episode than something significant and inside the brain," Auld told reporters.
Team captain Mark Giordano told reporters that Brodie had mentioned feeling "a little bit off, lightheaded maybe" moments before he collapsed and was seen convulsing on the ice. According to Auld, the team's on-ice medical staff reached Brodie within seconds and an ambulance was called "in about 45 seconds" to take Brodie to a local hospital. Those convulsions, Auld said, can be common with mere fainting episodes — and not necessarily signs of anything more serious.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) November 15, 2019
"Basically, the purpose of fainting is to eliminate gravity and allow your heart to get blood to your brain," Auld said. "If there is a period of time where that doesn’t happen, the brain can go on hyperdrive, and with that can come some of the motor movements that we saw.”
Treliving and Auld confirmed that Brodie was not responding to questions when medical staff first reached him, but soon became conscious and was able to communicate as he was transported to the hospital. The Calgary GM said that Brodie was sore and did not remember the entire episode, but was otherwise doing well.
"Hopefully he progresses well and he’s back sooner rather than later but that’s not the focus right now," Treliving said. "The focus is making sure we go through every test. All in all, he’s in a good frame of mind."
Gilbertson reported that Brodie's teammate and neighbor Sean Monahan tried to contact Brodie's wife Amber while he was on the way to the hospital — Monahan's girlfriend ultimately went right to the Brodie's door to alert his family.
#Flames C Sean Monahan on visiting D TJ Brodie in hospital: “We saw him on the ice and then we saw him going in the ambulance, so you want to see him in a better state. Going to see him at the hospital was good. You saw him smiling and happy to see the guys.”
— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) November 15, 2019
Auld told reporters that lack of sleep, overtraining, certain medications, stimulants and dehydration are some reasons why a person may experience a fainting episode. Treliving added that he and Auld spent the entire day at the hospital and the entire team visited Brodie at some point.
While he and several Flames players reiterated how scary the incident was, seeing Brodie awake and in otherwise good spirits appeared to lighten the mood during an unusual and emotional situation for the team.
"We joked with him — it doesn’t take the guys very long, they’re saying ‘if you need the day off, you could have done it a lot easier, but thanks for giving us the day off, '" Treliving said.
In No. 7's absence, the Flames recalled defenseman Oliver Kylington from AHL Stockton. They also placed Juuso Valimaki, who tore his ACL over the summer during training, on long-term injured reserve for cap relief.