Skip to content

Carlson details head injury from slap shot: 'I just got struck by lightning'

G Fiume / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson opened up about the frightening injury that's kept him out of the lineup since Christmas.

The 33-year-old was struck in the head by a Brenden Dillon slap shot in a Dec. 23 matchup with the Winnipeg Jets, which caused a skull fracture and a severed temporal artery.

"I just got struck by lightning," Carlson said, per The Athletic's Tarik El-Bashir. "That’s the only way to describe it."

He added: "There’s always close calls. There’s always a lot of, 'Oh man, that could have hurt or that could have been bad' times. This was bad. It’s a one-in-a-million thing - and it happened to me."

Carlson was taken to hospital for evaluation after the game, and the Capitals ruled him out indefinitely the following day.

"It was bleeding so much," Carlson said. "The only way I could describe it is, just survival."

Carlson is back skating and is on the verge of returning to Washington's lineup. An exact date hasn't been identified yet, but the club's top blue-liner is adamant on playing again this season despite the Capitals being all but out of the Eastern Conference playoff race.

"It was a lot of work and time put in," he said. "At three months, medically, there’s no more healing that can happen. This is what I do, this is what I want to do. So that’s the decision."

Carlson has spent his entire 14-year career in D.C. after he was drafted 27th overall in 2008. He's been top five in Norris Trophy voting three times, and is the franchise's all-time leader in points by a defenseman with 614.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox