Tim Bozon

Tim Bozon

Tim Bozon rejoices in Ice victory

Kootenay forward reflects on meningitis episode, his recovery and his last visit to Cranbrook

One day after being discharged from hospital, Tim Bozon was exactly where he wanted to be.

The Kootenay Ice forward stepped back into his home arena and took part in game-day preparations with his team before dropping the puck in a ceremonial face off to a thunderous standing ovation.

His team went on to beat the Calgary Hitmen 5-3, clinching their first playoff round win in over two years.

“It was huge, obviously, it meant a lot,” said Bozon, a signed prospect with the Montreal Canadiens. “It’s probably my last time here so to see the boys one more time—I had such a great time with them, such great people and for sure, to get to see the rink one more time—I had lots of fun.

“It was such an emotional night and it feels good too, mentally, after all I went through, so it was really good.”

His voice is a little raspy, and he’s lost weight, but the Ice forward seems in good spirits.

“I feel way better than a couple weeks ago,” said Bozon. “If I’m out of the hospital, that means I’m ready to go, I guess. Not that I’m 100 per cent, not that I’m feeling great…but I’m doing way better. I see improvement every day and it feels good.”

Bozon flies out on Tuesday to Montreal to meet with staff from the Canadiens, before heading back home to France to begin his rehabilitation after spending the last month in a Saskatoon hospital battling meningitis.

Meningitis is the swelling of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and the spinal cord caused by bacteria, viruses or micro-organisms, and can be fatal, if left untreated.

Though he has made incredible strides in the initial stages of physiotherapy, his dad, Philippe, cautions it will take time to make a complete recovery.

“We have to be really careful now that things don’t go too fast and the rehab has to be well-balanced so that he doesn’t have too many bad days, but the doctor told us that would happen and we just have to be patient with that,” said Philippe, a former professional hockey player.

“Right now we have a positive energy going and it’s really hopeful for us looking forward.”

Bozon will be staying in a facility with all the necessary doctors and medication for the next two or three weeks, before moving to another rehab centre closer to home.

All of that is, of course, is dependent on his progress.

“You cannot give time, but he’s got time in front of him and hopefully he can work everything and get back to 100 per cent recovery,” added Philippe.

A month ago, on Feb. 28th, Bozon helped lead the Ice to victory with a goal in a 4-2 come-from-behind win over the Saskatoon Blades during a road trip through Saskatchewan.

The next day, he was admitted to hospital.

It wasn’t a sudden calamity that sparked the trip to the emergency room, but Bozon hadn’t been feeling well for much of the night after the Blades game, even after taking medication and eventually getting some sleep.

Ice athletic therapist Cory Cameron stayed in contact with team doctors throughout the night and when Bozon woke up in the morning in pain, he knew something was off.

“The interactions I started having with him then was…it wasn’t right,” Cameron said. “I’m trained to deal with sickness and muscle injuries and all that kind of stuff, but maybe it’s a little bit of an instinct when you just know that things just weren’t right.

“…The way he was acting, the responsiveness of him to me when I was speaking to him wasn’t where it needed to be and that’s when I made the decision and knew we needed more help.”

They got to Royal University Hospital at roughly 8:30 a.m. Less than two hours later, doctors had discovered bacteria in Bozon’s spinal fluid, which narrowed down the eventual diagnosis to Neisseria meningitis.

“It was pretty rapid. They knew what was going on pretty quick,” said Cameron.

Within a matter of hours, the medical team had him on a breathing machine and eventually into a medically-induced coma.

A day later, Bozon’s parents—Philippe and Helene—were at his side, flying in a continent away from their home in France.

After 13 long days, doctors—including neurologist Gary Hunt—worked to slowly wake him. He was soon responding to verbal stimuli and stabilized, improving from critical condition.

Within the next week, Bozon was moved out of ICU and into one of the hospital wards, where he was awake, moving around in his bed and trying to talk and feed himself.

It would be another week and a half of treatment and physiotherapy before Bozon was officially discharged after an emotional press conference on Friday with his dad, Hunt and his agent at his side.

“His progress since he left the ICU has been really amazing so I think his prognosis is really excellent,” said Hunt.

Hunt was unable to provide a cause for how Bozon contracted meningitis, noting it is uncommon in young, healthy people, and that the particular strain of Neisseria meningitis is even more uncommon.

“We don’t have a good reason for why he contracted it besides bad luck, really,” Hunt said.

While he was undergoing treatment, the hockey world across North American and Europe rallied to him, sending everything from messages of support on social media to gifts of blankets and fruit baskets. Teams from across the WHL also had placards signed by fans and delivered to him and his family.

“It’s been huge. Surprising, too,” Bozon said. “You can tell that the hockey world is such a hockey family. The Saskatoon Blades, since day one, took care of me like I was one of their players.

“They did not have to do that and they took care of me and Kootenay, the players obviously got a lot of messages from them, lots of messages from the league and other teams.

“You can tell that it is a rivalry in the league but you’re still human, still a hockey player and it’s really emotional to see that.”

Road To Recovery

Though Bozon has been released from hospital and has made encouraging progress, there is still a long road to recovery. There have been steep medical costs incurred during his stay at the hospital in Saskatoon, and there will be further costs to cover rehabilitation down the road.

The WHL has established a trust fund for the family, and donations can be made at any BMO Bank of Montreal location in the provinces of B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Just Posted

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

Calvin Dickson photo.
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for East Kootenay

Conditions favourable for the development of thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook.
Graduation ceremony in the works for MBSS Class of 2021

The Mount Bake Secondary School Class of 2021 will have a graduation… Continue reading

After being forced to cancel in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Wasa Triathlon is being organized for August. Bulletin file photo.
Information released for Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon scheduled for August

In 2020 the COVID pandemic forced the Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon to… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read