Burned Baird in stable condition, on ventilator

Baird signed with the Muskegon Fury of the International Hockey League just six days before.


AKRON — Former SteelHounds hockey player Jason Baird is in stable condition at the Akron Burn Center after he was seriously burned Thursday when the lawn mower he was riding exploded.

Baird’s wife, Bethany, said Saturday that despite suffering burns over 60-65 percent of his body, he is responding to those around him.

“He is fully aware of his situation,” Mrs. Baird said. “He’s responded very well, letting us know that he knows we’re here. He is holding his own.”

Mark Johnson, a former teammate of Baird’s, visited Saturday.

“When he heard Mark’s voice, he tried to wave to him,” Mrs. Baird said. “He knew who it was.”

She said doctors expect her husband to remain at the Akron Burn Center for 60-90 days and “multiple surgeries are coming up.

“They are keeping him sedated and he’s on a ventilator,” she said.

Baird, 27, of Cayuga, Ontario, was working with a private landscaping company when the accident occurred at the Westchester apartment complex on Westchester Drive, just past the intersection of Route 11 and Mahoning Avenue.

Austintown fire officials say Baird was not refueling the mower when the accident occurred and the mower has been confiscated by the Occupational Health and Safety Association. Because of the investigation, he did not release the name of the company that employed Baird.

Six days before the accident, Baird signed with the Muskegon Fury of the International Hockey League.

The SteelHounds were ousted from the Central Hockey League on June 2 and have no league affiliation.

Baird, who began his professional hockey career seven years ago with the Cincinnati Cyclones, came to Youngstown last November as part of a trade with the Corpus Christi Rayz.

Baird played 45 games for the SteelHounds, scoring 13 goals and making 23 assists. His 36 points made him the fifth-leading scorer on the team.

Kevin Kaminski, the former SteelHounds coach who now is leading the CHL’s Mississippi RiverKings, says Baird’s former teammates are planning a benefit that will be in late August.

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