BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — It's hockey game night at Bloomington Ice Gardens, and inside the locker room at Rink 2, the Jefferson Bantam Double-A team is getting ready to play.
This was the team Ethan Glynn was on before a devastating neck injury left him paralyzed. There's no place he would rather be than right here, surrounded by teammates -- his best friends in the world.
He missed this connection so much while rehabbing for months in Denver after his catastrophic neck injury that happened in the fall.
He missed them, and they missed him.
“You said to me in Denver, 'I'm still the same Ethan,' said Randy Shaver to Ethan.
“Yes,” said Ethan.
“Do your friends treat you like you're still the same?” asked Randy.
“Yeah. Yeah, they do,” said Ethan.
“So, they haven't let up?” asked Randy. "And you're good with that?”
“Yeah, that's what I want,” says Ethan.
The only difference now is, Ethan is a spectator, no longer able to be a participant. Now, he spends game nights surrounded by friends, up against the glass, cheering on his team. But as sad as that is, his parents, Corey and Cassidy, say just being here is a game changer for Ethan.
“I think it's been amazing,” said Cassidy Durkin, Ethan’s mom. “It's like a switch went off. I don't want to say he's a whole different kid, but just sort of being in his environment with his friends, with his stuff, he's just smiling and happy."
Attitude is everything, and Ethan's mindset is nothing short of unwavering resolve. A perfect example, at a recent physical therapy session at Courage Kenny in Golden Valley, he once again conquered the standing chair.
This isn't the only progress. He continues to strengthen his upper body.
“I feel like my arm is stronger,” said Ethan.
He's showing marked improvement from just a few months ago, and it's just enough to mess with his mom.
“We'll be getting in the chair in the morning and I'll have his arms and I'll go to get his belt on the other side,” said Cassidy. "I'll come in, his arm is off and I'll be like, I thought I was careful, and I readjust it and then I go get the belt again. I come back, it's down again, about the third time. He's got a huge smile, you know, and he's sitting there doing it. So it's, you know, I make it. But yeah, he's, you know, constantly messing with us, I guess. Same old Ethan.”
Same old Ethan, despite having to use a special mouth device to play video games, he's still beating his older brother Parker more often than not.
Ethan insists they keep track of his wins on the whiteboard, and he's still talking smack -- which he loves to do.
Ethan and his brother are inseparable. In fact, Parker will be Ethan's dive buddy. That's right, Ethan is going on a dive trip. Before Ethan left Craig hospital, he was introduced to scuba diving. And he loved it.
He said it felt so relaxing.
So, cue up the next adventure -- a diving trip to Aruba in June with other Craig patients.
Life didn't stop when Ethan got hurt six months ago. He wouldn't let it, not for a second. And all we can do now is watch and learn.
“Every day is a smile or it is a wink at us,” said Corey Glynn, Ethan’s dad. “Every day is, 'Let's keep busy, let's keep busy.' I don't want to sit here, look out the window [like], 'What are we doing today?'”
“So proud of him,” said Cassidy. “He just keeps pushing through. Just keeps going -- a smile on his face the whole time.”
“Teaches you to give a little grace, you know? I mean, he's very good at it. He's had to be with being patient with us and just sort of a lot of life lessons for everybody.”
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