This wasn’t the start the Olympic start the US women’s hockey team envisioned.
Brianna Decker, one of the team’s top forwards, went down to the ice screaming in agony in the first period of the team’s first game against Finland on Friday (AEDT).
Decker had to be stretchered off the ice with what was termed a lower-body injury for the assistant captain.
The injury occurred when she got tangled with Finland’s Ronja Savolainen.
In between the first and second period, teammate Amanda Kessel told NBC that it was a “sickening moment” hearing Decker’s cries of pain.
Kessel called Decker “a key player on the team”.
“She’s one of the toughest players that I’ve ever played with or against, so you know she’s not staying down on the ice or crying when it’s not bad. So it’s definitely a gut punch. We want to win for her.”
Decker, 30, led the team in assists at the 2018 Olympic Games at Pyeongchang in which the Americans won gold, according to The Associated Press.
Decker later was on crutches next to the bench and was hugged by teammates as they left the ice.
Decker was unable to put any pressure on her leg.USA Hockey said Decker would be out for the remainder of the Olympics.
Decker’s injury was the second to a key player during the tournament’s opening day at the Beijing Games. Canadian forward Melodie Daoust did not return after being checked hard into the boards by Sarah Foster in Canada’s 12-1 rout of Switzerland.
— This story originally appeared on The New York Post and has been republished with permission