Norovirus suspected in Michigan hockey rink illnesses

Before personal hockey idol and goaltending great, Tony Espositio, there was Glenn Hall backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks for a bit.

Being a goaltender in hockey is just weird, and attracts psychologically, uh, different people.

Hall was famous for vomiting before every game.

Someone started barfing during a Detroit-area high-school hockey game Sunday night, and others soon followed: at least 30 others. Up to 80 people are believed to have been sickened.

Norovirus is suspected in the outbreak.

Some were taken for treatment by ambulance and others were taken by private vehicles to area hospitals. The city-owned complex was shut down so air and water tests could be performed.

Carol Austerberry of the Wayne County Health Department said yesterday afternoon that about 80 reports have come in of people suffering gastrointestinal problems that include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramping. The number might grow as reports continue to come in.

County workers are contacting health care officials to collect stool samples for the investigation, to be sent to a state lab for testing. Surveys also will be sent to the people who attended the hockey tournament.

Fire Chief Robert Tompos said water samples were shipped to an independent lab in Monroe for testing and came back clean, ruling out contamination.

Tompos said people got sick simultaneously, causing several players to vomit on benches and in locker rooms.

Tompos said some hockey players share equipment and water bottles, which could be considered mini-petri dishes.

Austerberry said good prevention starts with parents.

“If your child is sick, don’t let them go to school,” she said. “Don’t let them participate in sports where they are around a lot of people.”