By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been almost five years since a Minnesota high school hockey player’s paralyzing injury.

Jack Jablonski was back in his home state Saturday to raise money for others in the same position.

Jablonski was paralyzed during a high school hockey game in 2011 when he played for Benilde-St. Margaret’s. He and his family started the “Believe in Miracles” foundation to help support recovery from spinal cord injuries.

“You look back and obviously time has flown by and you realize that it has been five years,” Jack said.

Jack was 16 years old when he was paralyzed. He’s 21 now and says he doesn’t think a lot about what happened in December 2011.

“I try not to,” he said. “I look forward and look at the things that I have accomplished.”

He’s finishing up his second year at the University of Southern California. On Saturday he helped host the foundation’s “A Night To Believe” fundraiser.

The funds support epidural stimulation, which Leslie Jablonski hopes the FDA will approve to improve paralysis recovery. She says the Mayo Clinic successfully tested the results of paralysis recovery from epidural stimulation this fall.

“This is groundbreaking,” Leslie, Jack’s mom, said. “What it did do is bring back functions that the body lost when it was paralyzed and that is huge.”

The event featured former NHL players like Jordan Leopold and Keith Ballard. Matt Olson, a once standout hockey player for Totino-Grace High School who was paralyzed during a junior hockey game in February, was also in the audience.

As for what’s next for Jack? He’s not sure, but says hockey will always be where his heart is.

“Always,” Jack said. “It’s just a part of my life.”

Jack still does hours of physical therapy each week in addition to a full course load at college. He also has an internship with the Los Angeles Kings.

Kate Raddatz

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