MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Jack Jablonski’s team from Benilde-St. Margaret’s will take to the ice Saturday night for the first time since Jablonski suffered the hit that left him paralyzed. And off the ice, the support for “Jabs” has gone viral – in the form on an international trend and tribute.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s boys basketball team traded jerseys for Jabs at the Timberwolves shoot-out tournament Saturday, with t-shirts sporting a #Jabs logo.
Zach Cave, a junior player on the team who designed the shirts, said he put the hash tag (#Jabs) on them, because it was what everyone was trending on Twitter.
“Everybody around the nation and world is tweeting about him,” said Kelly O’Connor, a senior team manager.
Even the Minnesota Wild got involved in the conversation. The team tweeted that they’ll put up Jabs signs at their nationally televised game in Canada.
On Thursday, the Jablonski family detailed the devastating injury and said that the 16-year-old Jabs is never expected to walk again. The surgeon said the teen’s spinal cord was severed when his head went smashing into the boards after being checked.
The doctor said Jablonski will need the overwhelming show of support to continue as he adjusts to his new life.
The Jablonski family wrote that the news was “devastating” to the standout athlete. On their Caring Bridge site, the family wrote: “Our priority is to help Jack accept and transition into his new life, a life that we did not plan, but one that we have to embrace.”
The surgeon who operated on Jablonski Friday said the teen can only move the bicep in his right arm and that doctors do not expect improvement.
The display of hope that followed that announcement is now visible from Twin Cities highways. “Jabs 13” is spelled out in red plastic cups on two bridges near Highway 100, which is near Benilde-St. Margaret’s, and on another walking bridge in Edina.
Saturday, the Benilde-St. Margaret’s girls basketball team also made sure Jabs is with them every step, by writing his name on their basketball shoes, and in permanent marker on their hands. Every player changed their number to “13” with tape.
“I know he’s changed my life,” said Grace Coughlin, a sophomore classmate and point guard. “I personally always thought that basketball was such an important thing, and I was so focused on it all the time. And what I didn’t understand was there are bigger things in life, and your season could end in five seconds.”
Coughlin believes the Jabs movement is mobilized by faith.
“Even from the biggest tragedy, miracles can come from it. Keep trending #jabs because this is the time he needs us now more than ever,” she said.
Jablonski’s family launched a new website, with the latest on his condition and information about Jack’s fund. It can be found at www.jabby13.com