By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Matt Olson remembers falling onto the ice on Feb. 21 and trying to get up.

“The first thing I did, I tried to move, and I knew right away I couldn’t,” Matt, from Isanti, said.

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Olson, a hockey defenseman, was injured after he slammed into the boards during a junior league game in Chicago. In an instant, the 20-year-old was paralyzed from the chest down. After immediate surgery at a Chicago hospital, he couldn’t speak for seven weeks.

“It’s like your worst nightmare,” Sue Olson, Matt’s mother, said. “I wanted to comfort him and let him know that we were there.”

Since then he’s stayed at the Mayo Clinic, and now the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Golden Valley. For a star athlete at Totino-Grace High School and then the Chicago Cougars, a junior league team, Matt’s day to day tasks take every ounce of his strength.

“You get tired especially at the end of the day,” he said “Three hours of therapy everyday can really wipe you out.”

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He’s received support from all over the world, including from the Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, and Jack Jablonski, a Benilde-St. Margaret hockey player paralyzed during a game in 2011.

“It’s a true testament to how people can rally around someone,” Matt said.

Matt says there are good and bad days to life in a wheelchair but if you ask him about his dreams, like going to college, the answer is easy.

“It’s not going to limit me on things I want to do” he said.

To help Olson, you can donate to this GoFundMe page, or donate via the North American Banking Company:

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North American Banking Co.
c/o Matt Olson Benefit
2230 Albert St.
Roseville, MN 55113

Kate Raddatz