MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It has been almost a year since a standout Minnesota hockey player was paralyzed on the ice. Now he is in a new home to help him adjust to a new life.
Matt Olson was paralyzed during a junior league hockey game in Chicago last February.READ MORE: 'This Is A Test For Minnesota': Protesters Outside Governor's Mansion Call For Justice In Derek Chauvin Trial
The Olson family has been working on building a new home for months to make it more accessible for Matt, who turned 21 earlier this month. It includes higher counter tops to accommodate his wheelchair, wider hallways and special doors.
“There was a lot of stuff in the way, you kind of just wiggle your way through everything and little paths and stuff,” Matt said.
He was left paralyzed from the shoulders down after slamming headfirst into the boards.
The former Totino-Grace High School hockey player has since gone back to his alma mater to speak. He showed off how he has learned to lift his right arm. He also attended Jack Jablonski‘s fundraiser in the fall.
“We actually talked a lot about hockey and Jack out in L.A. and doing his internship with the Kings,” Matt said.
There is one thing that has not changed. Matt says hockey will always be a part of his life, but he does not forget about the accident.READ MORE: Police Seek Suspect In Fatal Shooting Near George Floyd Memorial
“You have that time where you think about it and dwell a little bit, but you pick up the pieces and put them together and move on,” he said.
Matt says now that the family is settling into the new home, he can think more long term about what he wants to do, including going back to school.
He is taking things one day at a time for now, and celebrating every milestone. His family will be installing a new lift on a track to help him move around his room. He is working up his arm strength to try to brush his own teeth.
“It’s pretty rewarding when you can, you know, stab a piece of bread with peanut butter on it and feed yourself,” he said.
Matt says he is especially grateful for the emotional and financial support of friends, teammates and strangers that helped raise money for his medical care and a more accessible home.
“It shows you that there’s still a lot of good people in the world,” Matt said.MORE NEWS: As Spring Allergies Spike, Doctors Say Test For COVID As A Precaution