September 19, 2011
Ex-con Danton helps save teammate's lifeRecalls first-aid training from prison
By QMI Agency
The five years Mike Danton spent in prison were not in vain.
Danton has helped save a teammate's life in a Swedish Division 1 game thanks to first-aid training he received while serving time for his part in a failed murder-for-hire plot in 2004.
In the season opener for Danton's IFK Ore team Sunday in Sweden, winger Marcus Bengtsson went into convulsions after a late hit.
After the hit, Danton skated over to admonish the perpetrator and check on his linemate when he saw Bengtsson's face hit the ice.
"As I bent down to see if (Bengtsson) was OK, that is when he started to convulse," Danton, 30, wrote Monday on his blog.
"At first it was his legs, then his arms, then his eyes, then his entire body. I have seen seizures before. In prison, druggies would come in off the streets and have withdrawals. Their seizures would last 30-60 seconds. So, when the convulsions did not cease after a couple of minutes, I knew something was wrong.
"One of the luxuries of my prison experience afforded me to take a first aid course and become certified in first aid response."
Danton wrote that Bengtsson's jaw locked and blood seeped between his teeth. Afraid that Bengtsson would swallow his tongue, Danton slapped his good friend to try to unclench his jaw.
"His mouth finally opened a bit. It was at that time that I jammed my fingers into his mouth and clawed his tongue," Danton wrote.
"His convulsions went on for what seemed like forever. Emergency help did take forever, as we are 35 minutes from the closest ambulance. There was nothing that we could do but wait and hope for the best. Our crew did a great job, though.
"What must have been six or seven minutes of convulsing all of a sudden stopped. His eyes opened and looked all around. Amongst the people talking Swedish to him I asked him if he was OK. 'Yes,' he replied. I asked him if he was sore or felt pain. 'No,' he said.
Danton then cracked a joke which made Bengtsson laugh.
"And it was at that time that I began to cry. I realized how close I was to losing a teammate, a line mate, a friend ..."
About 14 minutes remained in the game, with the score 3-3.
Members of both teams wanted to call the game but Bengtsson wanted them to play on.
"So, we did. We went on to defeat Soderhamn/Ljusne 4-3," Danton wrote.
After the game, teammates visited Bengtsson in hospital to make sure he was OK.
"I walked him up to another floor where he is sleeping now while being observed. He did not remember anything from what happened," Danton wrote.
"I retold him the story. I showed him where his ugly teeth had chomped down and broke skin on my fingers. To that, he replied, 'Now we are blood brothers.'"
Danton played 87 NHL games with New Jersey and St. Louis before going to prison. Upon release in 2009 he attended Saint Mary's University in Halifax.