METHUEN — It happened in a flash, limbs tangling during a common collision between hockey players from Methuen and Gloucester high schools.
Almost nobody either on or off the ice at the Methuen rink even knew anything was wrong, and the game briefly continued, with Gloucester on its way to a 6-4 victory.
But when Brady Barron, 16, a Methuen junior forward, fell to the ice, in that instant, his glove had slipped off, leaving his hand and wrist exposed. And his wrist had been cut accidentally by a skate from a Gloucester player as they both hit the deck.
The blade severed an artery, 12 tendons and several nerves in his left wrist. The refs did not stop the play; and with that type of injury, seconds count.
Janielle Martin, 30, an athletic trainer and critical care nurse who was sitting on the Methuen bench, realized instinctively that a serious injury had happened and flew out of the box before the play was even blown dead. The look on Barron’s face, his shout over the general sports cacophony, a drop of blood — Martin processed those clues with the eye of an ER nurse.
”He was skating towards the box, which was normal, but I saw two drops of blood, and I knew it wasn’t a nosebleed,” Martin said. “Something kicked in and I jumped on the ice.”
Only a few feet away, Martin got to Barron, elevated his arm, pressed his wrist, and tried to keep him calm. She sent for towels to compress the cut and slow the bleeding. Al Delano, a current athletic trainer at Methuen High and an anatomy teacher, ran up to the rink from a track meet happening concurrently.
A police officer, Patrolman Walter Fleming, arrived within another minute, Martin and Delano said, and Methuen Fire and EMTs followed shortly after. An EMT in the stands, a Gloucester parent, got paper towels.