NHL defenceman misses game with possible foodborne illness

ESPN reported today that Mark Fistric of the Dallas Stars missed last Saturday night’s game vs Los Angeles after being hospitalized with symptoms consistent with a foodborne illness. In an effort to step out of hockey and into epidemiology, Fistric (below, left side of the Blackhawk sandwich), who has 3 points and 14 penalty minutes this season, reported that he believes the illness was caused by a pregame meal on Friday.

"The last thing I ate was a pregame meal in San Jose, and everyone ate it and no one got it," Fistric said. "I felt fine during the game. But when I was getting on the bus, it started hitting me. It was the most pain I’d ever felt in my stomach and they took me right to the hospital [when the plane landed]."
Fistric said he was put on antibiotics and got plenty of sleep the last few days.

Although most pathogens will create symptoms within a couple of days, Fistric might have been exposed up to ten days before feeling ill. While it might make a reappearance, it’s usually not as simple as blaming the most recent meal for the illness.

As I dug up some stats on Mark Fistric, I came across some info on his dad, Boris, who was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1979 and spent his professional career in the minor leagues. Boris was a bit of a bad ass, racking up 460 penalty minutes in 64 games as a junior (that’s about three fights every two games) and breaking 390 minutes twice while with Kalamazoo of the International League. Wow.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.