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Chris Pronger remembers 1998 on-ice collapse

The former St. Louis Blues Captain Pronger relived his experience after learning about Damar Hamlin's collapse on the field Monday.

ST. LOUIS — Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin is fighting to recover after suffering a cardiac arrest during an NFL game. Hamlin collapsed after making a tackle Monday night against the Bengals in Cincinnati. 

Hamlin is still in critical condition. He received CPR while on the field for several minutes.

5 On Your Side Sports Director Frank Cusumano talked to former St. Louis Blues Captain Chris Pronger, who experienced something similar back in 1998.

Chris Pronger was watching hockey when he heard the news of Damar Hamlin. He switched the channel and watched intently. If anybody could relate to what happened to Hamlin, it's Pronger. As he watched, he told his son George, a senior in high school, of what happened to him 25 years ago. 

It was a playoff game in Detroit, and Pronger got nailed right in the heart with a slapshot. He took a couple of strides and then collapsed. The crowd at Joe Louis Arena, who normally despised the Blues' edgy, all-star defenseman, grew eerily quiet. 

Pronger was diagnosed with commotio cordis, a form of cardiac arrest.

"And then the next thing I remember, I'm looking up at the banners and my stuff's cut open and I'm looking over at the bench and people are crying and teammates are crying," Pronger said. "So I was like kind of, what's going on?"

Pronger didn't know he had been unconscious for 20 to 30 seconds.

Pronger spent the night in the hospital and went through a series of tests the next day, got a pad to cover his heart and he played in the next game. And he said he didn't play any differently than before.

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