Although the Peninsula Panthers’ season is ramping up and the young team is prepping for regular season games, one player is simply hoping to be able to lace up his skates and take a few laps around the rink.
In May, 18-year-old Brett Sjerven, a Parkland graduate and Peninsula Minor Hockey veteran, began feeling a strange sensation in his chest.
“I had this weird feeling in my chest and it hurt, but I didn’t think too much of it,” said Sjerven. “I waited a month before going to see the doctor and he referred me to get an X-ray. When I had it done, they got back to me right away saying they found a pneumothorax.”
Sjerven was diagnosed with a pneumothorax, or a collapsed lung, and had air collecting in his chest cavity around his left lung. The pneumothorax was caused by a hole that had spontaneously formed in Sjerven’s lung.
“I went in for tests the day after the X-ray and the next day the hole was even bigger,” Sjerven said. “The doctor put a tube in my chest that was supposed to suck the air out from around my lung, but instead the hole just got worse.”
Sjerven spent the next few days in and out of the hospital having different tube sizes put in to reduce the air around his lung, but instead of improving, the hole continued to grow.
“The hole got so big they scheduled me for surgery right away and I went in on June 28.”
Doctors clamped the hole in Sjerven’s lung and he spent three days in hospital recovering from surgery.
“When I got home I was only allowed to walk from my bedroom to the end of the driveway. Each day I was allowed to try a little bit more, but I would get so winded just doing small distances. It was so crazy because before I could just go out and run 10 kilometres no problem. Now I can barely run to the end of my street without being completely winded.”
Sjerven is on the path to recovery, working hard on getting his endurance up.
“I can run for a minute now without stopping,” he said. “I’m taking power skating which is really helping and I’m trying to get out on the ice with [the Panthers] just to skate around a bit, but it’s going to be a long recovery.
“Hopefully I’ll see some ice time and some playing time this season, but I know I’ll have to work hard and earn it,” he said.
The Panthers play their home opener Sept. 7 against the Westshore Wolves. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at Panorama Recreation Centre.