Roughneck roots from hospital

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:02 AM ET

When doctors were putting an IV into Devan Wray’s jugular earlier this week, the only words the Calgary Roughnecks defender could muster were “Can I play on Saturday?”

Definitely not.

Battling a life-threatening infection causing septic shock was a bit more important at the time.

Wray, an eight-year veteran with the National Lacrosse League team, is still in Foothills Hospital recovering from the illness that started with a routine cut on his shin.

“They all looked at me like I was crazy,” Wray said about worrying if he could suit up Saturday night in Toronto against the Rock.

“I was barely conscious for that. That’s when I was at my worst. They were struggling for ways to bring my blood pressure back up.

“I had fainted four times in a row and they were in full-on panic mode.”

Wray was admitted to hospital Monday just in time to fall in and out of consciousness, and the staff was having trouble locating his pulse.

With his leg swollen to about twice its normal size, the infection was attacking the basic functions of his body. It took three days to get his system back under control and only Friday morning did Wray start to feel close to normal again.

He hopes to be released after the weekend, but that means he has to figure out how to watch the Roughnecks face the Rock. The hospital doesn’t have TSN2.

Despite being in an upbeat mood, the 31-year-old will still have to fight off the infection that’s making sitting in a hospital bed uncomfortable.

“I don’t know if I’ve turned the corner yet,” said Wray, whose wife and father have been at his side most of the week. “I might be doing that right now. The rest of my body functions — things like blood pressure and oxygen in my blood and heart rate, internal temperature — those have started to normalize the past two days now.

“The leg has continued to get bigger. It weighs twice as much as it normally would. I don’t know how my body physically crammed that much fluid into this leg.

“But it’s getting to the point where it’s settling down and starting to get back to where it’s supposed to be.”

Teammates Andrew McBride and Geoff Snider went to see Wray before they departed for Toronto and McBride, the team captain, vowed they would be playing for their hospitalized friend.

“He’s a tough guy so he’s downplaying the whole situation,” McBride said. “Our thoughts are definitely with him and we’re going to try and win this one for him.”

Wray gave a half-hearted laugh at that notion.

“They need this one for everybody, not just me,” Wray said. “It’s nice he would say that. There’s a lot of other reasons to win this one. Knowing they have a teammate in hospital might be a bit more fuel for them, but it’s a first-place game.

“For a young team like ours that nobody was expecting much from, it’s a great chance to go out there and show the rest of the league what we’re all about. That’s what should be on their minds.”

Wray is thankful he dodged what could have been a much worse situation.

“What if my wife hadn’t been home and I passed out? What if no one would have made a call for me?” he said. “Things could have been different for me right about now. It’s disturbing to think about.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ianbusby57


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