Ruptured appendix can't stop Trupp
GRAND FORKS -- Evan Trupp was so sick one morning last spring that he struggled to climb out of his hotel bed. He moved only to vomit. The 19-year-old hockey player had no idea that his appendix had ruptured and a potentially life-threatening sit...
GRAND FORKS -- Evan Trupp was so sick one morning last spring that he struggled to climb out of his hotel bed. He moved only to vomit.
The 19-year-old hockey player had no idea that his appendix had ruptured and a potentially life-threatening situation was at hand. He just thought it was an extreme case of the flu.
"It was the worst feeling I've ever had," Trupp said.
So he spent the morning in bed. And the afternoon, too. Then, the hockey team's coach asked Trupp what his status was for the evening's British Columbia Hockey League playoff game.
His answer: "I'm in."
And so Trupp played the game - the entire game - with the ruptured appendix. He played mostly on special teams. In between shifts, Trupp vomited on the bench.
He became sicker as the game progressed.
"It wasn't good," Trupp said.
By the end, the team trainer knew it had to be something worse than the flu, so he rushed Trupp to the nearest hospital. Too sick to even sit in the car, Trupp curled up in the back.
Upon arrival, doctors quickly moved Trupp into surgery. They removed his appendix and he spent the next week in the hospital as toxins were drained from his system. A week after he was released from the hospital, Trupp rejoined his team (10 to 15 pounds lighter) and played in the last game of the playoffs.
Trupp is now at UND, one of six freshmen who will begin their college careers today in an exhibition against Manitoba at 5:07 p.m.
How fast can he adjust to the college game? How big of an impact will he have this season? Can he be one of the top rookies in the league?
Those are all questions that remain to be answered.
What one knows for sure is that it's hard to keep the 5-foot-10, 155-pound forward out of the lineup.
"It's one thing to evaluate skill or ability," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "How do you quantify that type of a quality when it comes to heart and grit?"
Trupp is used having to success.
He played three seasons of high school hockey in Alaska and won three state championships. As a junior, he was named the state's player of the year by the coaches.
He left Anchorage's South High School for Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League as a senior, joining the same junior team his father played for 25 years earlier. Trupp was again dominant, earning rookie of the year honors and a spot on the top line at the BCHL all-star game.
"He can think two plays ahead of anybody on the ice," said Bruno Campese, who coached Penticton last season. "He's very skilled. And he works so hard on and off the ice."
Trupp may have come to UND last fall if it weren't for another bout of bad luck he encountered in the 2006 BCHL playoffs - a separated shoulder that needed surgery.
So he spent last season in Penticton again as he rehabbed the injury.
UND only has had a limited chance to see what Trupp can do this fall because of little practice time. But tonight should be a good opportunity.
"I think Evan's game goes to a different level when it gets to game action because of his tenacity," Hakstol said. "Sometimes, it's hard to bring that tenacity to practice. He's a hound dog on the puck. If he loses it, he's going to find a way to get it back. That's a quality that's more and more difficult to come by.
"He brings a great package - great hockey sense, good skills and a tenacious attitude to go with it."
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