Richard Zednik Brought NHL Back To Reality

Aaron BrenkerCorrespondent IAugust 17, 2008

With the new NHL season right in front of us, and the return of Florida Panther Richard Zednik on the horizon, I feel obligated to touch on a key topic.

When playing a hard hitting contact sport such as hockey, it is expected that players will get injured. As fans, when we see a player get injured, we assume that he'll be fine, and come back within a few days. It has taken a near fatal injury to a hard working player for the fans and the league to be brought back to reality.

The Zednik injury was a freak accident, and hopefully will never happen again. This incident has been a rude awakening to any fan who has labeled athletes as overpaid  primadonnas.

Being a Florida resident I have realized that the Panthers are not as popular in Florida as the Miami Dolphins, and Miami Heat, but the Zednik incident had a huge effect on the South Florida community.

It brought to our attention that athletes, and injuries that come with their sports, should not be taken for granted. Human life is so fragile, and as fans of our respective sports we must learn that athletes are people too. Most of them have families and futures to think about and we should respect them for putting their bodies and livelihood on the line.

I'm excited for the return of Zednik, and I am looking forward to seeing his blue-collar approach to playing hockey. The Panthers forward's tragic accident has taught me to view athletes as people. I hope it has taught all fans of sports to do the same.