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Burr Ridge Hawks fan recovering after puck hit her ‘like an arrow’ to the face

Dr. PatriciHiggins | Steve Dahl~www.dahl.com

Dr. Patricia Higgins | Steve Dahl~www.dahl.com

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Updated: July 16, 2013 6:14AM



A Blackhawks fan who was hit in the face with a puck Wednesday night at the United Center during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals was recovering Thursday evening at home after undergoing surgery at Rush University Medical Center.

Dr. Patricia Higgins, 55, a family practitioner from Burr Ridge, was having a girls’ night at the Hawks game with her daughter Caitlin, 26, when a puck flew over the glass toward her seats in the 100 level with about 90 seconds left in regulation time.

“We thank God her eye was spared,” said Higgins’ mother, who asked not to be named. “That thing went just like an arrow right to her, just an inch more, and it could have been her eye.”

The puck opened a 1½-inch bone-deep gash extending from the bridge of her nose through her right eyebrow. It required “a ton of internal and external stiches” from a plastic surgeon but did not cause any internal damage, Caitlin Higgins said.

“She’ll have a nice shiner for a while,” she said. “I just keep thinking ‘If only I’d raised my hands, I could have deflected the puck,’ or if my brother had been at the game and not me, he’s tall, the puck would have bounced off his chest and left a bruise.”

Caitlin Higgins had just put her face inside her Hawks jersey to cough when the puck flew by her face.

“I heard the stick hit the puck and then I just heard a thud. I looked over, and my mom had her hands to her face and she took them away and there was a lot of blood, and she said, ‘I can’t see.’ ”

The TV at the Higgins home in Burr Ridge late Wednesday was set to the game and it was clear that someone in the stands had been injured.

“We heard the announcer say someone had gotten hit by the puck, and that was all the reference they made to it. And we noticed a couple of the players looking up into the stands,” Higgins’ mother said.

About 10 minutes later, Caitlin Higgins called and said, “Mom got hit.”

Patricia Higgins was in a lot of pain when she was told at the hospital that the Hawks won in the third overtime.

“She was pretty much sleeping, but she smiled and said ‘All right,’ ” Caitlin said.

One entire room in the Higgins household is dedicated to the White Sox and the Blackhawks.

“My mom’s a pretty tough cookie,” said Higgins 23-year-old son, Don, who doesn’t think the incident will keep the family from attending games.

As for the whereabouts of the offending little black rubber disk, the Higgins family isn’t quite sure.

“At the hospital, the paramedics said, ‘Did you at least get the puck?’ I hadn’t even thought about it. We think someone who bought seats from a season ticketholder we’re friends with ended up grabbing it,” Caitlin said.

But the retelling of the story years from now would go better with a prop.

“We’re hoping we get a little souvenir at some point, but if it’s gone it’s gone.”

The photo of Higgins’ injury was provided by Internet podcast host Steve Dahl. Higgins is his friend and physician.



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