MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When you watch Pine City’s Jonah Bergstrom play hockey, it becomes pretty apparent pretty quickly what makes him so good.
“He’s got a passion for it,” said Coach Grant Nicoll. “Every night, he’s the last one out of the locker room. He doesn’t ever want to miss anything. And when he gets on the ice, he’s got the individual skill, and he’s got the build for it, and he’s got that knack for the net.”
The senior broke the school’s all-time scoring record this season — a record that has stood for 20 years.
“It is a big deal, you know. It’s a very big deal,” Nicoll said.
A big deal not just because, well, it speaks for itself, but because of what Bergstrom has had to go through to do it.
“I just have a lot of built-up mucus and junk inside my lungs. A lot more than a regular person,” Bergstrom said.
He was born with cystic fibrosis. Every morning when he gets up, and every night before he goes to bed, he has to hook himself up to his therapy machine — a chest pack and a mask — for half an hour.
“I put a vest on, and it like vibrates up my chest and like moves everything around. And then I have a nebulizer also, and that helps loosen everything out,” Bergstrom said. “And I cough and blow my nose and get everything out of my lungs.”
His coach says most people in the community don’t even know he has it.
“Just looking at him, you’d never guess it. You see him play, you’d never guess anything was any different,” Nicoll said.
And that’s the way Bergstrom likes it.
“It doesn’t really affect me, cystic fibrosis. I feel like I’m living a normal life. Always have. Hasn’t held me back at all,” Bergstrom said.
Bergstrom is an example that no matter what life gives you, you can achieve your dreams.
“I remember when his parents found out, and it was questions, after questions, after questions. And to see a kid who’s 18 years old and lives every day like every other 18 year old, is a good thing,” Nicoll said. “There is some extra stuff, but if you followed this kid through his life, it hasn’t changed him as a person. I mean, if anything, maybe even made him a better person.”