Craig Cunningham

Roadrunners captain Craig Cunningham, who had part of his left leg amputated, says “I’m lucky I’m not 10 feet under.”

Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star

Craig Cunningham's recovery from cardiac arrest took a hit just after Christmas, when the Tucson Roadrunners captain had part of his left leg amputated. ESPN was the first to report on Cunningham's latest medical issue.

The amputation officially scuttles any hopes Cunningham had of playing again, though the Roadrunner — who is still at Banner-University Medical Center — said his medical trials have provided perspective. 

"Every time I think about how I can't play anymore, I just think back to [the fact that] I'm lucky I'm not 10 feet under," Cunningham told ESPN.com on Monday. "If I have to sacrifice playing hockey to be alive — and it's a tough pill to swallow for sure, it's been my whole life since I was 4 years old — it's time for me to move on."

Cunningham, 26, collapsed on the Tucson Arena ice before a Nov. 19 game against the Manitoba Moose. Cunningham required more than 85 minutes of relentless CPR after going into cardiac arrest on the ice. He was taken by ambulance to nearby Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital, where innovative emergency medical procedures were completed by a team comprised of both St. Mary’s and Banner-UMC doctors.

Cunningham was slated to go home late last month before the leg infection caused more complications. Cunningham will soon be sent to a rehabilitation center to build strength.