MINNEAPOLIS - Jack Jablonski was a rising hockey star at Benilde-St. Margaret's.
The JV player was so promising he played with the varsity team against Totino Grace just last month. But now, the Red Knight is fighting to stand up after a big hit during a game Friday.
Jack was on the ice with just nine minutes left in the game when two players from Wayzata checked him from behind. Jack hit the boards and fell to the ground.
"When your son goes down in that type of situation you say okay, get up and you count to five," Mike Jablonski, Jack's dad, said.
But Jack never got back up. Now, he's in the ICU at Hennepin County Medical Center unable to move his legs and arms though he does have some feeling back in his shoulder.
Dr. Tina Slusher, who is treating Jack, said he will undergo surgery this week to fuse his spine but she warned there are no absolutes when it comes to recovery.
"This is a very serious spine injury," Slusher said.
The outpouring of support from the hockey world is helping the 16-year-old stay hopeful. Hockey legend Lou Nanne stopped by for a visit and more than two dozen teammates lined up outside his door to say hello. Some of them have not seen Jabby, as his friends like to call him, since the hit on the ice.
"He was good. He was making jokes and taking with us and he sounded good," Austin Polson-McCannon, a teammate who was at the game, said after his visit with Jack.
Leslie Jablonski, Jack's mother believes the outpour of love and support will help her son will recover, some way, somehow.
"He'll do everything he can to stay in the sport one way or another. Whether he's back on skates or if he becomes a hockey broadcaster. He's never going to give up. He's never going to let go of this," Leslie said.
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