It wasn’t the color she or her teammates wanted, but Brianna Decker is headed home with another Olympic medal.
Decker suffered a devastating leg injury early in the United States’ opening game of the women’s hockey tournament and was unable to compete for the remainder of the Olympics. But instead of returning home, Decker stayed to support her teammates as they continued their journey of defending the title from PyeongChang.
The Americans were unable to recapture the gold, but they did earn a silver medal as the runners-up, and Decker joined her team on the ice for the medal ceremony following its loss to Canada in the women’s final early Thursday morning.
U.S. defender Lee Stecklein helped Decker onto the ice for the ceremony. Decker has been riding a knee scooter since suffering her injury.
“There is no doubt she was going to stay here and be part of this team. The pain she went through, I can’t even imagine,” said Stecklein.
“For her to be with us means a lot. I know it wasn’t easy for her all the time, but we love her very much.”
Decker will turn 31 in May, and it’s unclear if she’ll return to the Olympics after recovering from her injury. But there’s no doubt that her teammates want to see her represent the U.S. again on the world stage.
“She is an incredibly important part of this team and I am super impressed with how she has still impacted the team off the ice,” said Stecklein. “We were going to miss her but everybody stepped up when we needed them to.”
“Hopefully she is on her way to healing.”