Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 21:09
Contact sports are just as American as apple pie and Chevrolet. In recent years, many rules have been made in professional sports to help regulate contact and minimize injury. For example, a hit to the head in football is now illegal, as well as certain formations during kickoffs. There is a lot of speculation about which sport is the roughest and has the toughest players. To me, it is obvious.
Patrice Bergeron was born July 24, 1985 in L'Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec, Canada. Currently the Assistant Captain of the Boston Bruins, Bergeron has made quite a name for himself in the world of hockey. Drafted 45th overall in the 2003 National Hockey League Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins, he has generated one of the best reputations in hockey. The Bruins center is known primarily for his unique style on offense. He is a very defensive-minded player, yet always seems to be able to find a way to rush the puck up the ice and generate a shot on net from the slot.
Since his entry into the NHL in 2003, Bergeron has piled up a total of 122 goals and 222 assists. He is so much of an asset to the Bruins that his most recent contract will make sure he retires right in Beantown where he started his career.
Fast forward to the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins skate onto the Chicago ice after sweeping the Penguins in the past series. The thought of hoisting the elusive Stanley Cup creeps back into all their minds, having won the cup just two years prior.
The Bruins were leading the Series, 2-1 as they entered Game 4 in Boston. About halfway through the game Bergeron took a hit from Michael Frolik in the corner and tore cartilage in his ribs. He kept playing despite the pain.
Boston would go on to lose the game 6-5 in overtime. The next game, he took another hit early on in the same spot and cracked multiple ribs. He came out immediately but returned again to play the second period; however, following the second period, he was taken to a Chicago hospital to make sure there was no damage to the spleen. No one even considered that he would come back and play in game 6.
"In my mind, for sure, I wanted to play," Bergeron told ESPN. "I was hoping for the pain to go down, but that wasn't the case. After Game 5, I was in a lot of pain. The next day, I was just trying to find a way [to] manage the pain, I guess, but it was definitely there. On the day of Game 6, we met with the doctors and they were telling me the only way I could play was to have a nerve block, otherwise the pain would be too high, so I did that in order to play."
Bergeron played the beginning of the period as if he was totally fine, but about halfway through he took a hit and fell awkwardly onto his shoulder, separating it in the process. On top of all of that, Bergeron somehow acquired a punctured lung and still decided to stay in the game and play.
The Bruins lost, ending their hopes at another title. After the game Bergeron was brought to the hospital where doctors discovered that his lung had, in fact, collapsed near the end of the game.