He's not walking yet, but paralyzed Minnesota teen Jack Jablonski is already doing far, far more than doctors thought he ever would.
As reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press and a variety of other Twin Cities media outlets, Jablonski crawled for the first time since his paralyzing injury with the help of a group of therapists in the first days of August. For a teen who was told he would never feel sensation below his neck again in January, crawling eight months later is a monumental achievement.
The rapid strides forward -- Jablonski tweeted that he moved a finger and leg for the first time in late May -- have stoked hopes among the parents of the Benilde-St. Margaret's hockey player's family that he really might be able to walk again some day, a possibility that no one thought was realistic when Jablonski was paralyzed by an accidental hit from behind in a hockey game in the last days of December.
"It just gives us a lot of optimism," Leslie Jablonski, the teen's mother, told the Star-Tribune. "Something good is going on."
More specifically, Jablonski was able to crawl back and forth on a mat three times with the aid of helpers at the Courage Center rehabilitation facility, where the hockey player has been working with the center's ABLE program, which is designed to help victims of spinal injuries improve movement with the help of different re-training exercises.
The ABLE program is only two years old, and officials are unsure just how much improvement the re-training exercises can spur. So far, so good, with both Jablonski and other clients.
"We've seen some really amazing things from all of our clients," Rachel Kath-Dvorak told the Star-Tribune. "We're very optimistic ... We don't know what it all means, but we know it's all positive."
If it continues to be positive, Jablonski may sense even more movement in the coming months and years, all the while defying the tough predictions of doctors that followed his initial heartbreaking injury.