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Lakeville Athlete Accidentally Paralyzed Finds Inspiration In Jablonski

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There are 200 players out for football at Lakeville South this fall, but one is missing: Dillon Borowicz.

“He worked so hard in the offseason,” said Lakeville South Football Coach Larry Thompson. “He’s prepared mentally to have a great senior season.”

Borowicz broke his neck in a pool accident 32 days ago.

“He had a compression fracture of the fifth vertebrae,” said his father, Scott Borowicz. “When he hit, it smashed it, and it broke in pieces, and it choked his spinal cord.”

He had surgery Thursday to fuse those vertebrae, but is still paralyzed from the chest down.

“I didn’t feel it was real until I went and saw him with the angel thing on his head,” said teammate Matt Leidner. “Then it came to me, and I was really sad, but you can’t cry. You just have to be there to support him as much as possible.”

The team will show support by wearing his number on their helmets. There’s also a website (dillonborowicz.com), and tee-shirts. At the Red Fox, where he worked, they’re hosting a charity motorcycle ride.

“Our boys grew up together,” said Natalie Breitung. “Our kids grew up in the old neighborhood, so I just felt a calling to jump in and help out in whatever way I could.”

Borowicz has drawn inspiration from Jack Jablonski, noting that he’s had Jack’s old rooms at HCMC and now Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute.

The entire family was pleased with Thursday’s surgery.

“The surgery went well,” said his father, “so I couldn’t be happier. Well, I could when he starts walking, because he keeps reassuring me.”

Doctors are still unsure how much feeling he’ll regain. They say all patients are different, but he hopes to have the halo removed by early October.

They expect as many as 1,000 at Saturday’s charity motorcycle ride. For more information, click here.

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