MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The parents of a paralyzed high school hockey player say they’re praying for a miracle.
At Hennepin County Medical Center’s Pediatric Care Center, 16-year-old Jack Jablonski lies in a hospital bed, immobilized in a halo. Now, he’s waiting for surgery later this week.
His spinal cord was severed last Friday when he was hit during a game between Benilde St. Margaret and Wayzata. He was checked from behind by two Wayzata players sending him smashing into the boards.
“Jack didn’t move, and I went down by the ice and he said, ‘Dad, I can’t feel anything,'” Jack’s father, Mike, said. “That’s your worst nightmare as a parent.”
He was rushed to HCMC, where doctors say the outlook, medically, is grave.
“We are worried because he isn’t moving more at this time,” said Dr. Tina Slusher.
Now, the hallways outside his hospital room have been a sea of students wearing Benilde red. Jack is often surrounded by teammates who have been visiting almost around the clock.
“It hits you pretty hard. He is such a great kid,” said teammate Zach Hale.
His little brother, Max, has been reading him updates from his Facebook page, which has been exploding with well wishes.
Jack has had famous visitors, including hockey great Lou Nanne. His Caring Bridge site has also had more than 13,000 visits from around the world. It’s support that is carrying the family and Jack.
“We need a miracle and we need everyone to pray for him,” Jack’s mother, Leslie Jablonski, said.
Leslie has a message for the boys who delivered the paralyzing hits.
“It’s something they will never forget. Our heart goes out to them and their families,” said Leslie.
Mike said he feels strongly that USA Hockey needs to make rule changes that take tougher actions against the kinds of hits that have paralyzed his son.