An ice hockey star who is believed to have taken a blade to his throat in a horrific injury during a game has died aged 29, his family have said.
Adam Johnson’s injury was so horrific it forced the game to be abandoned and left traumatised fans in tears.
The American athlete is believed to have been stuck in the neck by an ice hockey blade in a freak accident at the match between Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers at Utilita Arena Sheffield this evening.
His mother Kari took to social media to share her heartbreak this morning – telling friends: ‘I lost half of my heart today.’
And his club said they were ‘truly devastated’ by the news – paying tribute to ‘a great teammate and an incredible person with his whole life ahead of him’.
The Elite Ice Hockey League said they were ‘heartbroken’ to confirm the ‘deeply upsetting’ news – and have postponed all games scheduled to take place today.
Adam Johnson (pictured) suffered an horrific injury during a nightmare tackle that left spectators horrified
The incident happened at Utilita Arena Sheffield (pictured) and is believed to have been witnessed by around 8,000 fans
His club said they were ‘truly devastated’ by the news – paying tribute to ‘a great teammate and an incredible person with his whole life ahead of him’
Adam Johnson (pictured) is believed to have taken an ice hockey blade to the neck during the match between Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers
Yorkshire Ambulance Service said they were called at around 8.21pm before sending two ambulances and a critical care paramedic – with one man taken to hospital
Devastated fans have taken to social media to share their grief for the Minnesota-born star, using the hashtag ‘sticksoutfor47’ – a reference to the number Mr Johnson wore.
Around 8,000 fans saw the nightmare collision last night before the game was quickly stopped and screens were brought onto the pitch to protect the players involved. The match was later abandoned.
Sharing the news, his club said: ‘The Nottingham Panthers are truly devastated to announce that Adam Johnson has tragically passed away following a freak accident at the game in Sheffield last night.
‘The Panthers would like to send our thoughts and condolences to Adam’s family, his partner, and all his friends at this extremely difficult time.
‘Everyone at the club including players, staff, management, and ownership are heartbroken at the news of Adam’s passing.’
They added that their thoughts were not just with those closest to the athlete – but the fans and staff who saw the incident.
The club also thanked the people who rushed to try and save him amid the horror incident.
They continued: ‘Adam, our number 47, was not only an outstanding ice hockey player but also a great teammate and an incredible person with his whole life ahead of him.
Around 8,000 fans saw the nightmare collision last night before the game was quickly stopped and screens were brought onto the pitch to protect the players involved. The match was later abandoned
Horrified fans have taken to social media to share their horror at the accident
‘The Club will dearly miss him and will never ever forget him.’
One witness told MailOnline that Mr Johnson tried to skate back to his team after the injury to his throat but collapsed before he made it, prompting panicked scenes as players and medics rushed out to help the stricken star.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service said they were called at around 8.21pm before sending two ambulances and a critical care paramedic – with one man taken to hospital.
South Yorkshire Police were contacted four minutes later, and confirmed he was later pronounced deceased at hospital.
Officers from the force remain at the scene and an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Devastated spectators who witnessed the accident were left in ‘tears’ and hugging one another, with one saying ‘they’ll never get over’ what they saw.
‘It was horrible to see. People were crying and passing out,’ another shocked witness added.
The freak accident appeared to have been caused by a Sheffield Steelers’ player as he tried to tackle another one of Mr Johnson’s teammates.
The northern club shared a statement from the Elite Ice Hockey League – adding: ‘Everyone at the Steelers send their condolences to Adam Johnson’s partner, family team mates.’
Ice Hockey UK added: ‘Ice Hockey UK would like to send our thoughts and condolences to the family, friends and team-mates of Nottingham Panthers forward Adam Johnson who passed away last night.
‘The hockey family stands together with his family – and with each other – at this difficult time.’
Footage shows Mr Johnson being struck in the neck by a skate before he then collapses. Bleeding heavily, the hockey star manages to get to his feet as teammates scrambled to help him.
Shocked fans were left traumatised by the incident, with many taking to social media to share their horror at the accident.
The Elite Ice Hockey League said they were ‘heartbroken’ to confirm the ‘deeply upsetting’ news – and have postponed all games scheduled to take place today
The freak accident appeared to have been caused by a Sheffield Steelers’ player as he tried to tackle another one of Mr Johnson’s teammates
One witness told MailOnline that Mr Johnson tried to skate back to his team after the injury to his throat but collapsed before he made it
Ice Hockey UK added that the hockey family ‘stands together’ as they grieve Mr Johnson
Fans were asked to leave the building due a ‘major medical emergency’
Hockey fans have taken to social media this morning to share their heartbreak.
Fellow ice hockey club the Hull Seahawks said they were ‘devastated’ to hear the news of his death.
One spectator – who saw the horror collision at the arena – added: ‘We were there as a family and we were all praying for a different outcome.
‘Condolences to his family, Panthers and Steelers players. A devastating loss.’
Another fan – Helen Brearley – added: ‘Please know that Adam inspired many young players in Nottingham.’
And a third – Alan Hukins – said: ‘So sad to hear this terrible news. Sheffield is my team and Nottingham are our great rivals but we are with all our hockey friends in Nottingham and especially their family at this terrible time.’
After witnessing the incident, one person wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: ‘Stuff of nightmares at the panthers game tonight, praying for Adam Johnson.’
Another wrote on Facebook: ‘My 17-year-old has come home in bits, he said he can’t un-see what he’s seen tonight. He’s white as a sheet. My thoughts and prayers are with the teams involved.’
Someone else shared: ‘My son and I were there, watching play intensely. We just keep hugging each other. A lot of upset folk, so I know we’re not alone.’
Another wrote on X: ‘That was undoubtedly the worst thing I’ve ever seen happen, I’m so sorry. We’re all absolutely sick with worry, praying for a miracle.’
Hockey fans have taken to social media this morning to share their heartbreak
A fifth added: ‘Really really hope he’s okay and news of his recovery is posted soon. Thoughts and prayers to him and his family at this very anxious time.’
A spokesperson for Yorkshire Ambulance Service told MailOnline: ‘We were called at 8:21 this evening to the Sheffield Steeler’s game at Sheffield arena.
‘We attended a male and sent two ambulances and a critical care paramedic, and we sent one patient to hospital.’
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police added: ‘We were called at 8.25pm yesterday (28 October) to reports that a player had been seriously injured during a Sheffield Steelers versus Nottingham Panthers game at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield.
‘Officers attended the scene alongside other emergency services and one man, aged in his 20s, was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Sadly, he was later pronounced deceased at hospital.
‘Our officers remain at the scene carrying out enquiries today (29 October) and our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident remain ongoing.’
Nottingham Panthers posted on X: ‘Players are returning to the locker rooms.’
The account then provided an update that: ‘Fans have been asked to leave the building due to a major medical emergency’
Nottingham Motorpoint Arena, which is the Panther’s home ground, later posted on X: ‘Our heartfelt thoughts go out to Adam Johnson, his loved ones, all the Panthers players, staff, fans and the whole ice hockey community, following his horrific injury this evening.’
MailOnline has contacted Nottingham Panthers and South Yorkshire Police for comment.
American Mr Johnson previously played for the Pittsburgh Penguins.