Metro State hockey player Tony Salazar suffers heart attack during first game – USA TODAY
DENVER âÂ Anyone who knows Tony Salazar knows he’s a fighter. Now, the Colorado hockey family is once again rallying around the former Ralston Valley standout as he faces his biggest battle yet.
On Sunday, Salazar, 18, suffered a heart attack in his first ever hockey game for Metro State University.
He was airlifted to the hospital where doctors determined his heart was working at just 10 percent. The latest update from the family said it has risen to 35 percent, but Tony has been placed on the heart donor waiting list for a transplant.
Salazar had recently been cleared to play hockey for the first time since last year’s Colorado high school state semifinals.Â He suffered a knee-on-knee collision in that game which caused blood clots to form in his legs. Those clots eventually made their way to his lungs, creating a life-threatening condition.
When that happened, hockey players, families and teams from across the state — in addition to the greater Colorado community — banned together to raise money for his recovery efforts. The same is happening this time.
In addition to local youth players and their families, messages from the University of Buffalo women’s ice hockey team, Vanderbilt University hockey club and Colorado State hockey team have appeared onÂ the latest GoFundMe pageÂ for Salazar. As of Friday, close to $11,500 was raised, but there is still a need.
“The family and everyone who has been supporting him and us with prayers and good wishes cannot thank you enough. Please do not stop. Tony has a long road ahead of him with ups and downs, and we do not know what the final plan will be but he has taught us we will all face it with determination, prayers, tears and laughter,” the family said in a statement to 9NEWS.
“Thank you to all that who and continue to donate to his GoFundMe Page. From Tony’s family to all, we are blessed for all we have received from his PD family, his hockey family, friends [and the greater community].”
Salazar is taking online classes through Metro State University, and is working at the Wheat Ridge Police Department as a community service officer. It is his dream to one day be a police officer.