Nov 8, 2011, 5:26 PM EDT
There are two cool parts to this story.
The first involves Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. Upon learning of Bryant Johnson — a 13-year-old bantam goalie that’s undergone a series of brain surgeries related to hydrocephalus — Kipper reached out to his fellow Calgarian netminder.
Days after reading a Sun story about Johnson’s lifelong headache pain finally being benched following a series of surgeries on his brain, the last of which was in March that fixed a shunt, the Flames net minder sent a special gift to the boy’s Chestermere home, said his mom Nicole.
“Bryant opened it and saw it was from the Flames and it was a jersey,” she said.
The jersey was autographed by his idol who wrote “Best wishes Bryant” in the 4 on the back.
“He was floating. He was so excited,” she said, adding he will likely hang it framed on his bedroom wall, which has become a huge shrine to Kipper.
“He is over the moon.”
Hydrocephalus is a condition that causes excess fluid on the brain. It’s caused Johnson to spend a lot of time in hospitals dealing with massive headaches, though it hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for hockey. In fact, he’s embraced his condition in a most awesome way, bringing us to the second cool part of this story.
Check out Bryant Johnson’s goalie mask:
With bloody stitches cutting a swath through dark bruises, Bryant Johnson’s goalie mask is a graphic depiction of what was once his own head.
“This is what they did to my skull,” said the 13-year-old bantam hockey player from Chestermere, his finger tracing the decals he designed.
He pointed to a steel chunk in an open wound.
“And this scar, right here, is from when they opened my head and put the hinges in.”
He’s speaking of his surgery from last March at the Alberta Children’s Hospital that enlarged his skull and gave him the first real relief from headaches he’d always known.
That is one tough kid. When I was 13 I missed a basketball game because of an ingrown hair.
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