For a woman who'd gotten hit nearly square in the face this week by a flying hockey puck, Patricia Higgins Friday seemed to have her thoughts more on the Blackhawks than on her own injury.
"I'll be fine. Everybody just needs to cheer on the Blackhawks and make them win. Take Tylenol if your head hurts. That's all I can say," the 55-year-old physician said outside her Burr Ridge home.
The Higgins family has loved the Blackhawks for years and have been season ticket holders for nearly a decade. Higgins and her daughter, Caitlin Higgins, were at Wednesday's Game 1, sitting in their normal pair of seats, in Row 11 on the northwest side of the ice rink -- close enough to have an unobstructed view -- when the unthinkable happened in the final two moments of regulation.
"All I heard was the stick hitting the puck, so it was that "slap" sound, and, I mean, within a split second [she was hit]," Caitlin Higgins recalled.
She looked over to see her mom holding her face. The nearly six ounce, frozen game piece had sliced Patricia Higgins right above her right eye.
She needed more than 20 internal and external stitches to close the gash and wound up with a bruised retina, inflammation, and a concussion. Her biggest concern was losing her eyesight but that so far hasn't been a problem.
Patricia Higgins had reconstructive surgery on Thursday and was still in a good amount of pain a day later but said her sights remain on cheering on her Blackhawks all the way to the Stanley Cup.
"I wouldn't want to go through this again, but hang in there, Hawks. You have to win this now," she said.
Wednesday's game ended up going into triple overtime. The Blackhawks ultimately beat the Boston Bruins, 4-3.