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BOYS HOCKEY: Catholic Central's Sorisho severely injured in off-season game

Novi Detroit Catholic Central senior Matt Sorisho, shown here skating against East Kentwood in a Division 1 state semifinal game this past spring, was injured during an off-season elite tournament on Friday. He collided, back first, with the end boards, injuring his lower back. (The Oakland Press file photo)

Catholic Central's Matt Sorisho was third on the team in scoring a year ago. (Photo courtesy of MIHL.org)

The Novi Detroit Catholic Central family – which has seen its share of recent tribulation – suffered yet another tragedy this past weekend when one of its own, senior Matt Sorisho, was involved in an on-ice accident while playing for a Michigan Development Hockey League all-star team in Farmington Hills.

Sorisho, the Shamrocks’ top-returning scorer from last year’s state finalist squad, severely injured his spinal cord after colliding – back first – into the boards Friday afternoon during a game at the Farmington Hills Ice Arena.

CLICK HERE TO READ HOCKEY WRITER JASON SCHMITT'S LATEST BLOG ABOUT THE ACCIDENT.

According to Shamrocks head coach Doug Itami – who was not at the arena at the time of the incident – the impact shattered a lumbar vertebra in Sorisho’s back.

“This is the worst of the worst,” said Itami, who said he’s made a few trips over to the hospital to visit Sorisho and his family. “It’s our worst nightmare. We’re very vulnerable to that type of injury because we have boards. We’re going 100 miles per hour. We’re on skates. The things that can happen when you collide on a hard surface, with your neck and your back, it’s always the biggest fears for us as coaches, and as parents.”

Todd Johnson, who just stepped down as head coach of Catholic Central this past offseason and coached Sorisho last year, was at the arena, watching the game when the injury occurred. He said it was a freak play, one which looked different from most others he’s seen in his time around the sport. Sorisho was skating full speed down the ice, looking to get a shot off. The defenseman made contact, spinning him around, before he collided with the end board.

CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW YOU CAN HELP OUT THE SORISHO FAMILY.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a guy go into the boards at that rate of speed before,” Johnson said. “There was no way to protect himself. In your mind, you’re saying, ‘Come on Matt, come on Matt, get up.’ When he didn’t, I kind of sprinted out onto the ice myself.”

Johnson said a doctor and medical trainer were on the ice after the impact, and did a nice job treating him immediately. Sorisho was transported to Botsford Hospital, where he underwent surgery. He’s recovering, however doctors have informed him that the damage was severe enough that he will not be able to play hockey again and will likely be paralyzed from the waist down.

“When something like this happens, and it’s close to the CC family, it’s heartbreaking for sure,” Itami said. “Our lives have changed forever. Not just for Matt and his family, but for all of us who have been close to Matt. Now we just have to be strong for him and his family and deal with it. It’s a challenge. But it’s not over for Matt. Things are just different now.”

Jason Schmitt covers high school hockey for The Oakland Press. Email him at jason.schmitt@oakpress.com, read his "In The Zone" blog, which contains a little piece on this incident and follow our high school hockey coverage on Twitter @JasonESchmitt.

Last Updated: 1/8/2014 12:43:02 PM EST

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