Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Let’s start with some good news about Jack Jablonski, the 16-year-old high school hockey player who was paralyzed during a game last winter.
He’s been using a special form of therapy to help him walk, do sit-ups and even swimming.
Doctors originally told Jack’s family that he would never use his arms, or regain any movement in his lower body.
Jablonski’s hard work and determination is proving those doctors wrong.
In the very arena where he suffered his devastating injury, Jablonski drove his wheelchair onto the ice to listen and to be with other young players while as NHL great Jeremy Roenick held a youth clinic.
The clinic was one of two Roenick held to raise money for Jablonski’s expenses, as well as the Courage Center where Jack has been doing rigorous therapy.
Leslie Jablonski, Jack’s mom said, “The Courage Center’s ABLE program, which is funded by the Reeve Foundation, has made such a difference in Jack’s life.”
She detailed the remarkable progress her son has made in two months with the ABLE program’s exercises, including walking upright in a harness, doing core strengthening exercises, as well as swimming therapy.
“He has actually moved his legs a little bit on his own,” she said. “This stuff is unheard of. He wasn’t supposed to be able to move his arms. His legs? Forget it.”
ABLE staff says Jablonski isn’t the only one having remarkable results — other patients are, too. The goal is to get more data to convince insurance companies to provide coverage.
Leslie says you only need to look at Jack to see the results.
“What a difference it has made in him,” she said. “Every day, I feel like little miracles are happening.”
The Minnesota Wild is hosting a sold out benefit Thursday night for Jack, along with the Christopher Reeve Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis Foundation.
That group helps pay for the ABLE program at the Courage Center. Three months of ABLE therapy costs $18,000 and isn’t covered by insurance.