April 27, 2009

Last Whistle - The Day Dean Bergeron's Life Changed Forever

This is Dean Bergeron. He is one of Canada's most decorated Paralympians. He has competed in four Paralympic Games from 1996 through 2008, winning three gold medals, two silver and five bronze in the track and field.

Bergeron was destined to be a Canadian sports star, although wheelchair track and field certainly was not his first choice. His first choice was the great Canadian game - hockey.

Here is a picture of Bergeron at community rink. He once starred on the ice, as a fully able-bodied athlete. He was a promising young star in the QMJHL, with NHL scouts taking notice.

His destiny all changed in a training camp scrimmage in August, 1987. Bergeron was engaged in a hockey fight. In one fleeting moment he hit his head on the ice, broke his neck and was paralyzed permanently.

Since Don Sanderson's death under similar circumstances, Bergeron's story has once again surfaced, too. It's hard to believe some 20 years after Bergeron's life-altering injury nothing has changed. A player has now died on the ice, and no significant change is in the horizon.

Bergeron recently told his story to CBC Radio's The Inside Track. You can listen to the podcast here, or read this CBC news story based on the radio interview.

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