LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former Minnesota high school hockey player paralyzed during a game in 2011 is now a freshman at the University of Southern California.
Jack Jablonski started at the Los Angeles school in January. He plans to major in broadcast journalism and wants to work in radio and television.
Jablonski is one of 175 students getting scholarships from a national program that began at USC called Swim With Mike, which aims to help athletes who have suffered life-changing injuries.
The national program’s name refers to USC swimmer Mike Nyeholt, who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident in 1981. Members of the Anaheim Ducks left information about Swim With Mike with Jablonski when they visited him in the hospital.
Jablonski lives in a university-owned apartment with a personal care attendant, and he uses a motorized wheelchair to get around campus.
“From the visions that I had coming here and now the reality of being a college student here at USC, it really has lived up to what I thought it would be,” Jablonski said.
Like other college students, Jablonski said he can feel homesick. He’s grateful, he said, for what people have done for him.
“I’m very thankful for what I have in Minnesota, and if it wasn’t for everyone back at home, I wouldn’t be able to be here,” he said.
Jablonski was a student at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, when he suffered a spinal cord injury in a game Dec. 30, 2011. He was hit from behind and sent head-first into the boards.
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