Athletics & Recreation / Magazine Feature

Coaches comment on injured hockey star

Struggling with the aftermath of a severe neck injury to one of his players, DU hockey coach George Gwozdecky expressed deep concern Tuesday for senior Jesse Martin tempered with determination for his team move on.

“One of our brothers and comrades is missing, but we’ve got to complete our mission,” he said. “Jesse’s an inspiration for us and we hope we’re an inspiration for Jesse.”

Gwozdecky acknowledged that refocusing the Pioneers on hockey has been tough but necessary. He added that he would be flying to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis on Wednesday to be with Martin and his family.

Gwozdecky said Martin has been in stable condition since sustaining three fractures to his neck when he was forechecked by North Dakota forward Brad Malone in a game Saturday.

“It was not a legal hit because of contact with the head,” Gwozdecky said. “A penalty was called and it was the right call.”

Doctors are looking at the latest MRI results to determine the next step, Gwozdecky said at the mid-day press conference. He was joined in well-wishing by men’s head basketball coach Joe Scott and women’s head coach Erik Johnson.

“We’re one school and one program here,” Scott said. “He and his family are in our thoughts.”

DU returns to the ice Friday and Saturday for home and away games against Colorado College. For more information, visit



  1. I’d like to see DU be bit more proactive on this story.

    This is a “Front Page” story, not just a sports story, and judging by the level of coverage around North America, it would nice to see DU get out in front of this story more.

    1) There should be a “Jesse Martin” zone on both the DU and athletics web site where people can send well wishes to Martin, and see regular updates on his condition.

    2) There needs to be some active participation by DU on giving the students a chance to honor thier classmate, both at the game and on campus.

    3) DU’s experts should be front and center on this on the news. There are a lot of “teachable moments” here. What are the ethics of survivorship? Was this event avoidable – aspects of head injuries and violence in sports? How far should the media go in pursuing a story like this? What is the University’s moral responsibility for their athletes’ well being?

    4) DU needs to let the commmunity know what they are doing for the Martin family.

    5) The DU community needs to come together on this, and there needs to be more DU leadership and vision beyond just coach Gwozdecky.

    • Swami has addressed the thoughts I’ve had all week. I had anticipated DU would be the focal point for updates on Jesse’s condition and what students, alumni, and fans could do.

      Today, Friday, I’ve been checking the DU website, the Denver Post and the blogs looking for some update.

      Come on DU take the initiative!

      (Yes, I am a DU alumna.)

      • Chelsey Baker-Hauck says:

        We’ll keep fans posted on Jesse’s progress as much as we can, though we rely on DU Athletics Media Relations for our updates. There will be a “get well” banner for well wishers to sign at tonight’s home game against CC. The Edmonton Sun is publishing updates on Jesse’s condition: and

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