Finnish hockey star and Olympian Sanni Hakala now says she was paralyzed from the chest down after a collision on the ice during a game.
In an Instagram post on Thursday, the hockey star also reported reduced functions in her arms and hands after a collision on the ice during last week’s Swedish Women’s Hockey League game, according to Fox News.
“It is still hard to understand what has happened,” Hakala said in a statement Thursday on Instagram. “Not only that I am forced to stop playing hockey … but that I may be forced to sit in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.”
At the start of the game against Djurgården, Hakala collided with the goalpost. She was taken off the ice on a stretcher.
She was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery on her neck, but it does not appear that the surgery succeeded.
“It is still hard to understand what has happened, that the crash into the goalpost was as serious as it was, that the consequences have become so big,” Hakala wrote.
“Not only that, I am forced to stop playing hockey, something that has been a big part of my life for many years, but that I may be forced to sit in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. The injury I sustained last Friday after colliding with the goalpost has left me paralyzed from the chest down, with reduced function in my arms and hands. That’s the reality I’m trying to land in,” she said.
“I understand that I am now facing a long and hard fight with my body and the toughest game of my life,” Hakala said. “I have had amazing support from my family from day one, and I know that they will be by my side throughout the whole journey,” Hakala added.
“This situation obviously sucks, but I’m not scared to take it on.”
Hakala started her career in 2013 and was a member of the Finnish national team, captain of HV71 in the Swedish Women’s Hockey League (SDHL), and the winner of two Olympic medals in 2018 and 2022 and several world championships.