It's a far step from walking on his own, but for the first time since he was paralyzed in late December, Minnesota teen hockey player Jack Jablonski moved part of his body on his own. Shortly thereafter, he was put in a harness and walked upright, and then visited classmates at St. Benilde-St. Margaret's (Minn.) School, where he was a sophomore before he was involved in a devastating injury after being pushed into the boards during a junior varsity hockey game.
Needless to say, that makes for a couple of very big days for a teenager who it was anticipated would never move any part of his body below his triceps again.
"My jaw dropped," Leslie Jablonski, Jack Jablonski's mother, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I was sitting in a chair when I heard the staff so excited about something. I got up to see, and it was amazing.
"It gives Jack hope, that his hard work and determination are paying off. He wasn't supposed to be able to move anything below the triceps. This shows that he can. It gives him confidence moving forward. I am not a doctor and don't want to be overly optimistic. But if he's done this, we believe that he can do it again. His spirits are really high right now."
While Jablonski's body movements on Tuesday were the most uplifting moments of the week, his first visit back to the halls of St. Benilde-St. Margarets may have been almost as important to the sophomore and his family. Leslie Jablonski told the Pioneer Press that the Jablonski family is "still in awe of the support Jack is receiving."
Whether Jablonski can build on such a monumental week and work towards further mobility remains to be seen. What is certain is that what some called "a minor miracle" has already jolted the hockey star and his family — both nuclear and scholastic -- into a much more optimistic mind frame about what his future may entail.