Zetterberg gives scholarship to hockey player who broke her back - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Zetterberg gives scholarship to hockey player who broke her back

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Mary Mrdjenovic received a scholarship from the Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg.  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Mary Mrdjenovic received a scholarship from the Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
WARREN, Mich. (WJBK) -

Mary Mrdjenovic is a senior at Regina High School in Warren. These days she is a very popular girl.

Mrdjenovic is a star in three sports for the Satellites, and she carries a 4.0 grade point average.  However, a freak accident on the ice during hockey practice led Mrdjenovic to breaking her back.

"It was just any normal day.  We were doing just a normal drill and kind of lost my edge and took a bad hit, slammed into the boards, and that was just it," she explained.

At first, Mrdjenovic didn't think much of it.

"It wasn't really bad pain," she said.  "I was really sore and just had a bad kink in my back.  I didn't think anything was worse than that."

However, after several tests, the news couldn't be any more shocking.

"Three vertebrae were broken, but one was bad enough to where it was not supporting my spine," Mrdjenovic said.

When the tests revealed her injury, she was in surgery the next day.

Mrdjenovic returned to school last Friday ahead of schedule.  Her doctor says she is the perfect patient.

"She did everything he told her to do, so she came back to school two weeks earlier than he planned," said Athletic Director Diane Laffey.

Before all of this took place, Mrdjenovic applied for the Henrik Zetterberg Scholarship Award that the Red Wings' captain gives yearly for the top female hockey player in the state.

"I had been one of the top three people for the scholarship, but I did not receive the scholarship initially," said Mrdjenovic.

Her injury took place on February 20, but Zetterberg didn't hear about it until a week later.

"He had found out that I had an injury, and he gave me a perseverance scholarship because he wants me to pursue my career at college," Mrdjenovic said.

She has never met Zetterberg in person, but I have been in contact with the Red Wings.  They are working with those who handle Zetterberg's scholarships and have agreed to bring Mrdjenovic and her family to a game in the near future so she can meet her favorite player.

Mrdjenovic is expected to make a full recovery.  She said contact sports are frowned upon in the future, but other than that she will be just fine as she heads to Kettering University in the fall.

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