MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Jack Jablonski story has been a surreal one since the Benilde-St. Margaret’s student was paralyzing after getting checked from behind in a game against Wayzata.
Jablonski was told he will probably never walk again, and just recently his family announced on his CaringBridge site that he has made major progress. He’s going through rehabilitation and has some use back in his arms. He recently fed himself food, a major step in the process.
The captains of both the Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Wayzata hockey teams sat down with WCCO-TV recently to talk about the hit, the aftermath and how it’s affected them as players and high school kids.
When Jablonski’s teammates were told he would likely never walk again after severing his spinal cord, devastation set in.
“That little hope that you had during the game that it was OK, there it was that it was just shattered. It was gone. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, it was nothing short of a tragedy,” said Benilde captain Christian Horn.
As you visit with the players from the two teams, you realize they have matured because of it, they have learned because of it and they have discovered because of it.
“About a week after it happened on Thursday, everyone around the state wore white and it was unbelievable. I walked into school at 7:30 a.m., I look around and everyone is wearing white,” said Wayzata captain Sam Majka.
There have been highlights from the accident that they could not imagine, like the high five in the hospital from Jack.
“Jack was able to lift up his arm on his own, and it wasn’t a full high five but he was able to lift up his hand. Walking out of the hospital that night I was the happiest and most satisfied kid there was,” said captain Jake Horton.
There has also been the counseling for the young man from Wayzata who was on the other end of the collision.
“He’s been going through some really tough times and he’s a really great kid. We just want to be there for him and tell him freak accidents happen. He never would intentionally injure a kid like that so you’re heart goes out to him,” said Wayzata captain Matt Halvorson.
There are and will be difficult days and nights for all of them.
“Every night I mean, sitting in bed, laying in bed, there’s nothing I can’t think about that’s not about Jack,” Horton said.
Jack’s teammates have also found an inner strength that they didn’t know they had before the hit.
“There are some leadership qualities that I didn’t think that I had coming out in me,” Horn said.
They now understand that it doesn’t matter if you wear red or blue, you live in a state bonded by a sport that can become much more.
“Down deep it just shows that in the end there’s so much love here for all hockey teams and all hockey players,” Halvorson said.