Nine months ago, Minnesota high schooler Jack Jablonski was checked into the boards during a hockey game for Benilde-St. Margaret's and paralyzed. Since then, he's become an inspirational story and been shown support from all over the sports world as he continues rehabilitation.
On Monday, Jablonski was at Target Field in Minnesota to throw out the first pitch before the Twins hosted the New York Yankees. First baseman and hockey fan Justin Morneau played catcher and was part of a pregame ceremony that saw the organization donate $10,000 to the Jack Jablonski Fund.
September has been a huge month for Jablonski and his family. He returned to Benilde-St. Margaret's to attend classes and also managed to stand with assistance for 22 minutes as the ABLE program continues to help Jablonski make huge strides. His story has reached so many people that he was named a finalist for the America's Choice Honoree Courage in Sports award.
It was only months ago that he was lying in a hospital bed with a halo on. My hopes were dim and at times, the days seemed long and dark. Practically hopeless. But Jack's determination has propelled him to a level of progress that we only hoped and dreamed of. He truly is an inspiration and the reason that we continue to smile and BEL13VE that he will walk again.To think that he's still a contender in "Courage In Sports" (remember to vote every day!) is huge.
To think that he's going to throw out the first pitch during the Twins vs. Yankees game next Monday (9/24) is exciting. To see him open a drawer on his own is thrilling. To watch him text on his iPhone is beyond impressive. It's progress and it's all unexpected, yet it's the result of Jack's determination to be independent. Wondering when he'll master the art of doing laundry ; )
He's spent some time with the Stanley Cup thanks to Davis Drewiske, now thrown out the first pitch before a baseball game. Everything's coming up Jack Jablonski lately. Now if only the NHL can hear his Twitter plea to end the lockout...
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy