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Fighting Back: Patrick O'Sullivan's Long Road To Happiness07:20Download

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Patrick O'Sullivan overcame his father’s abuse to reach the NHL -- then retired to treat his trauma. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)MoreCloseclosemore
Patrick O'Sullivan overcame his father’s abuse to reach the NHL -- then retired to treat his trauma. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

"I don't know that my father ever had an intention when I was born for me to play hockey," Patrick O'Sullivan says, "but I think once I showed interest in it, that light bulb kind of went off for him, and that's when everything started."

From the time he began playing hockey, O'Sullivan was physically abused by his father — a former minor league player.

"At the beginning he would kick me a lot. And then it turned into slapping," O'Sullivan says. "And the older I got, it was almost like fighting, fist-fighting."

O'Sullivan says his mother witnessed 90 percent of the abuse — but did nothing to stop it.

"By the time I was 12 or 13, I had realized that I was going to have to take matters into my own hands," O'Sullivan says. "Around 15, I started to fight back."

O'Sullivan shares the rest of his storyIn His Own WordsTo hear the full story, click the play button below the headline at the top of the page. O'Sullivan is the author of the recent book, “Breaking Away: A Harrowing True Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph."

This segment aired on March 19, 2016.

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Martin Kessler Twitter Producer, Only A Game
Martin Kessler is a producer at Only A Game.

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