Minnesota native and former NHL defenseman Scot Kleinendorst is recovering from severe injuries from a workplace accident Dec. 7 in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

The Grand Rapids Police Department says Kleinendorst was operating heavy equipment unloading wood pulp at the Blandin Paper Company when he was ejected from a crane and suffered extensive head injuries and numerous broken bones.

Family remains hopeful after several surgeries

Kleinendorst was airlifted to a Duluth hospital where he underwent numerous surgeries and blood transfusions. He is listed in stable condition, according to his family’s CaringBridge page.

The family says the former pro hockey player needed emergency surgery to relieve pressure on the left side of his brain. He also suffered other brain damage, broke several ribs, an arm, shoulder blade and collarbone. The family says he faces a long recovery.

The 59-year-old was selected by the New York Rangers in the fifth round of the 1980 NHL draft and also played with the Hartford Whalers and the Washington Capitals before retiring in 1990.

Paper mills are among the most dangerous workplaces

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists the manufacture of paper and pulp as one of the world’s oldest and largest industries.

The agency says paper mills are extremely hazardous places to work due to the massive weights involved and the falling, sliding or rolling of pulpwood loads. Workers are often struck or crushed by loads from the misuse of equipment, mainly when proper safeguards aren’t in place.

Federal data on work-related deaths

Nearly three out of every 100 paper mill workers receive injuries that force them to miss work, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency reports 38 millworkers died in workplace accidents from 2014 to 2017. If you are hurt on the job, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits and must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled.