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Lethbridge hockey player out of intensive care, able to communicate

Last Updated Jul 16, 2018 at 12:40 pm EST

Lethbridge Hurricanes player Ryan Vandervlis is shown in an undated handout photo. An Alberta player with the Western Hockey League who was seriously burned by a campfire is out of intensive care. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Lethbridge Hurricanes *MANDATORY CREDIT*

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – An Alberta player with the Western Hockey League who was seriously burned while hanging out at a backyard firepit is out of intensive care.

Family of Ryan Vandervlis say the Lethbridge Hurricanes player is fully alert and has been transferred to a Calgary hospital’s burn unit.

He is able to whisper and communicate through texts.

The 20-year-old centre with the elite major junior team suffered burns to half his body last month.

He was with a group of young men who had gathered around a firepit as part of a pre-wedding celebration when a substance was placed in the fire.

Vandervlis has so far had five surgeries and will need more, but his family says he is expected to make a full recovery.

Two others were also burned but have since been released from hospital.

(CTV Lethbridge)