When I think of courageous athletes, I think of Adam Taliaferro and Brian Piccolo. I think of Kevin Everett and Lance Armstrong, Jim Abbott and Mario Lemieux. Among others.
I also think of Bryan Berard.
Berard, as you may recall, was accidentally hit by the stick of Ottawa's Marian Hossa in 2000. It was a gruesome scene, with blood staining the ice and Berard being raced to the hospital.
Berard nearly lost his right eye in the accident; he underwent seven eye operations and, to his credit, returned to the NHL _ and gave back his $6.5 million insurance settlement.
Think about that.
And, now, at 31, he will be trying to earn a spot on the Flyers' young defense in training camp next month.
Berard doesn't have the skill he possessed when he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1995 draft, but no one can question his character.
His presence will add some intrigue to what promises to be an interesting Flyers training camp.
I wrote about Berard in today's Inquirer.