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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two paralyzed Minnesota hockey players are now out of the hospital and headed for rehabilitation.
Jack Jablonski left Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) Monday. He suffered a spinal-cord-severing injury when he was checked from behind during a game. He also has two fractured vertebrae.
Jenna Privette was also released from HCMC a few days ago. She is undergoing rehabilitation for a spine injury that happened earlier this month.
A therapist who recently worked with Jablonski at HCMC says she expects he’ll have many more up and down days ahead.
“It’s going to be pretty intense for him,” said Sue Hieb-Stewart, a pediatric occupational therapist. he said Jack’s future looks promising, considering the severity of his injuries.
The same paramedics who wheeled Jack into HCMC after his injury wheeled him out Monday. They transferred him to Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
According to his family, it’s time for the 16-year-old to “move on to the next phase of his journey.”
Hieb-Stewart expects Jablonski will spend three hours a day working with weights, strengthening his arms and upper body, and working on his balance, too.
“His goals are going to be … to take what he has for function and make the most of it,” she said.
Therapists will work to make Jack as independent as possible. He recently tweeted, “I will skate, and that is my goal.”
“Jack will do well. He’s motivated. He’s got a great attitude,” Hieb-Stewart said. “There are a lot of opportunities with patients who have had an injury like Jack’s to be so independent in their surroundings and their world.”
She’s seen his determination, and with that in mind, she believes his goals are reachable. They’ll just now be done differently.
“There will have to be adaptations made to what equipment he uses,” she said. “But there could be a device developed for him to be back on skates in something that supports him.”
Jack’s new therapists will be his cheerleaders on the rehabilitation road. He’ll need encouragement from family and friends to continue getting stronger.
Hieb-Stewart also expects that Jack will learn alternative ways of doing things, like turning on the lights or TV. High-tech adaptations for these everyday tasks will allow him to have more independence.