By Esme Murphy

By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — University of Denver forward Jesse Martin has walked for the first time since his neck was broken in a hit by a North Dakota player Oct. 30.

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Doctors treating Martin at Regions Hospital in St. Paul say it may be a year before they know whether Martin can play hockey again. But they say his surgery on Monday was “very successful.”

Marin’s dad, Terry, was there, watching his son walk again for the first time.

“Today seeing Jesse walk, it was … it was amazing,” he said.

Terry Martin said his son told him that after he was hit, he could feel nothing in his extremities.

“He was lying on the ice and he told me, at that point, he could not move anything and he thought he was paralyzed,” he said.

Martin will remain at the Minnesota hospital for the next week or 10 days, then return to Denver to continue his rehabilitation. He will have to wear a halo brace for the next four to six weeks.

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Martin, a senior from Edmonton, Alberta, suffered a broken vertebra Oct. 30 in a game at North Dakota. He was knocked unconscious and had no use of his extremities for several minutes. North Dakota forward Brad Malone was suspended for one game for his check of Martin.

Martin has spoken by phone with Malone. Terry Martin said his son wanted to reassure Malone, he’s OK.

“He admires Brad’s game and he told him so,” Terry Martin said.

His son has always dreamed of a NHL career and is trying to stay upbeat.

“He said some people say they have a glass half full and some people say they have a glass half-empty — I am extremely grateful that I have a glass,” Terry Martin said.

Doctors say it will be at least a year before Martin fully recovers and before any judgment can be made about his ability to play hockey again.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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Esme Murphy