KEYC - Gustavus Women's Hockey Player's Miraculous Recovery Continues

Gustavus Women's Hockey Player's Miraculous Recovery Continues

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A potentially paralyzing hit during a November collegiate women's hockey tournament out East left a Gustavus Adolphus women's hockey player's career uncertain.

Kaitlyn Klein, sophomore forward, received immediate surgery to fix a broken vertebra. 

Doctors said the surgery would most likely paralyze her.

She beat all odd and is walking, attending classes, and as of Thursday has future in hockey once again.

"I actually just got cleared to play play hockey again!" Klein said.

On top of hard work in physical therapy, Klein's unexpectedly quick recovery is partially due to her trainer.

"The fact that there are no deficits from my pretty astronomical...It's pretty cool," Ashley Krug, Gustavus Adolphus graduate athletic trainer, said.

Krug knew in her gut to put Klein in a neck brace and on a spine board.

"She took together all my symptoms and she was like I think we should just for worst case scenario put you in a neck brace," Krug said.

A quick decision that's praised by Klein and her surgeons.

"Even my surgeons out East, like when I went into them they were like 'I don't even know how she knew to put you on a spine board...If I would have gotten up or stood up I could be not even walking right now," Klein said.

Because of Krug's treatment on Klein's spine injury, she earned her the Outstanding Athletic Trainers Recognition Award from the Minnesota Athletic Trainers' Association.

"That was a difficult decision to make for me and I know that she was not happy with me at the time but I think she's happy with me now," Krug said.

Klein is focuses on the future. She's preparing for finals and the season ahead.

"Right now I'm cleared to skate again but I'm not cleared for contact yet," Klein said.

So now it's back to the basics for Klein.

"Stick handling, shooting, running... [laughs] nobody likes that but I kind of have a different mindset now that I wasn't able to do it for so long," Klein said.

She's all smiles putting on her smelly gloves and firing off pucks for the first time in five months.

"And Kaitlyn has really impressed me," Krug said.

"Honestly, I don't wish it upon anyone but there couldn't' have been a better kid for it to happen to with a more positive spirit."

--KEYC News 12