Paralyzed Athlete Gives Jablonskis Hope: ‘Keep Fighting’

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Doctors told Jack Jablonski’s family last week that he would likely never walk again. But another family we’ve been following for years knows how much hope is ahead.

As a high school junior there wasn’t anything much better than a game of football. But, one play on the field would forever change Tyler Olson’s life.

“You think the worst,” he said.

Just as the sport Jack Jablonski lived for would also do.

“You know what they’re thinking, you know what they’re going through, you know what they’re dealing with,” said Medara Winter, Tyler’s mom.

Tyler’s injury is similar to the one Jack suffered. Both had successful spinal fusion surgery.

“I think Tyler had to grow up in an instant,” Winter said.

Doctors told his parents there would be a lot of things he would never do again, like dress or feed himself, which he has no problem with now.

“In general, everybody is talking out of textbook and that’s not what you’re living,” Winter said.

And no one would have thought while receiving stem cell treatment in India last spring that Tyler would stand by himself and even take a few steps.

“Keep fighting, I mean, you don’t have any other choice,” Tyler said.

Tyler admits there are bad days but he says everyone has them no matter their situation.

From the beginning they’ve focused on what they do have, not what they don’t.

So, like so many Tyler will be here cheering Jack on.

“Absolutely. Go Jack,” Tyler said.

Two young men that have never met but share so much — bright futures above all.

“You just can’t make it a life sentence,” Winter said.

Tyler is 20 years old now and going to college.

He plans to travel to India later this year for another round of stem cell therapy.

Tyler’s family said they will reach out to Jack’s family to lend their support.

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