Jack Hyman looked around the Proctor Academy locker room and knew something had to be wrong. "Everyone was saying they were having trouble breathing," said Hyman. "We were talking about how sick we felt and everyone's chest hurt. But we didn't know what was happening."
Later that day, the former North Andover High star and the rest of the Proctor hockey team had to be taken to the hospital, and it was discovered they had been exposed to toxic nitrogen dioxide gas due to a error at the hockey rink.
"It was pretty scary," said Hyman's father Jeffrey Hyman. "We are fortunate that Jack and the rest of the team, at least in the short term, seems no worse for the wear."
Jack Hyman and his teammate returned to the Proctor campus on Jan. 3, following the Christmas holiday. During practice that evening, the first signs of trouble occurred.
"A lot of guy were coughing really hard and feeling sick," said Hyman, a starting forward. "We thought it was because of the two weeks off. We figured if we just went to bed everything would be OK. But once we got off the ice, our symptoms deteriorated."
The following day, one of Hyman's teammates began coughing up blood. He was taken to a local hospital and first was diagnosed with pneumonia. He was then transferred to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center where a scan showed his symptoms were indicative to exposure to nitrogen dioxide.
"Tuesday night is when we realized we had a real emergency," said Chuck Will, Proctor's director of communications. "Every player was showing symptoms. The kids were taken the hospital and the state was immediately notified."
Hyman and nine other players were sent to Franklin Regional Hospital, while the rest were sent to Concord Hospital where tests showed they were all exposed to nitrogen dioxide. Hyman's group was sent home at 11:15 that night, while the other group was held overnight at the hospital and released the next day.