Chris Truehl is a junior hockey goalie for the NCAA Quinnipiac Bobcats. He’s also that person who’s allergic to cats but becomes a veterinarian, or that person who’s allergic to nuts who works on the assembly line for Skippy.
Truehl is an ice hockey player who’s allergic to ice.
Ice, and significantly cold temperatures. Which would, in theory, make playing hockey a rather arduous task.
“I know. There is absolutely no shortage of irony there,” he told Quinnipiac Now.
Truehl has cold urticarial, which are hives that develop from exposure to the cold. It first showed up in 2013, when he was playing hockey with the U.S. Air Force – red welts on his skin, growing intensely more painful. His coaches thought it could have been from an insect bite. It turned out it was due to the very surface he was playing on.
Truehl attributed his condition to events that occurred a year prior. As part of his Air Force training, he’d had to complete a survival exercise with four of his peers in the woods of Colorado. It was June, and they were prepared for dry, 90-degree heat. An unexpected weather system, however, blindsided Truehl and his team. For five days, they plodded through rain and hail, the temperature dipping at times below 40 degrees. By the end of the exercise, frostbite covered nearly 40 percent of Truehl’s skin. The U.S. Air Force physician who treated him told Truehl that while he would recover, he might experience certain side effects as a result of his exposure.
Unfortunately, the condition spelled the end of his military career. He eventually ended up at Quinnipiac, where he’s been on a goalie rotation with Andrew Shortridge.
His condition can be muted with proper attention. Truehl will change his thermal undershirts during the game. He’s constantly stretching during the game, as inactivity can trigger the skin malady. Perhaps the biggest change from the typical goalie routine: No postgame ice baths, as he uses heating pads instead.
According to Inverse, a science site, there’s a lot doctors don’t know about cold urticarial:
Whether or not the condition, which can be treated with antihistamines, is hereditary or has an unidentified cause is apparent in how it affects the body: People who have familial cold urticaria who are exposed to cold typically take 24 to 48 hours to show their symptoms. People who have the “acquired form,” however, erupt into hives within two to five minutes after exposure. It’s estimated that one percent of Americans are affected by this cold allergy as a whole, but there could be more — many people appear to mistake their condition as a result of a food allergy.
Truehl has aspirations to play professionally. He’s been in 21 games this season, with a 2.66 GAA and an .899 save percentage.
Considering his body is at constant war with the surface he’s playing on, that’s a remarkable effort.
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