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Cam Neely - "what Really Counts"

Famous Sports StarsHockeyCam Neely Biography - "what Really Counts", Perseverance, Chronology, "if I Can't Play Again, So What?" - SELECTED WRITINGS BY NEELY:

"What Really Counts"

Neely started his National Hockey League (NHL) career with the Vancouver Canucks, his hometown team: Neely's family lived in nearby Maple Ridge, British Columbia. He was drafted in 1982 at age seventeen and started appearing in the Canucks lineup the very next season. Then, when he was twenty-one, Vancouver traded him to the Boston Bruins.

Only months after Neely was traded to Boston, both of his parents were diagnosed with cancer. "[The Canucks] weren't using me very much, so my career wasn't going anywhere, but my personal life was wonderful. Everyone could come to games all the time, and everyone was healthy," Neely told Sports Illustrated reporter Leigh Montville. "I go 3,000 miles across the country, and my career takes off, but my personal life falls apart. It teaches you an awful lot about your priorities, about what really counts."

Neely was a good, crowd-pleasing player in Boston for several seasons. He set no records, but was an all-star in 1988, 1990, and 1991. Then, in a playoff game on May 11, 1991, Neely suffered a major injury to his left leg. Neely collided with Pittsburgh Penguins player Ulf Samuelsson, and Samuelsson's knee drove into Neely's thigh with such force that it caused a rare condition called myositis ossificans. The myositis ossificans caused the injured muscle to turn to bone; as a result, Neely now carries around a brick-sized chunk of bone in his left thigh muscle. He also suffers from knee problems that doctors think were caused in part by the same collision.

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