Paralyzed hockey player walks – NBC Boston

Milton Academy senior Jake Thibeault walked across the stage to receive his high school diploma on Friday, months after a hockey injury in the fall left him paralyzed from the waist down.

The 18-year-old suffered spinal fractures and a mild brain hemorrhage during the Eastern Alliance Kickoff tournament hockey game in September in Hopedale, Massachusetts. At the time, doctors said Thibeault was unlikely to walk again.

The eldest arrived at Milton Academy Graduation Ceremony in a wheelchair and, when his name was read aloud, used a walker and splints to cross the stage and accept his diploma, according to a video posted by his former team, the Boston Bulldogs, and shared by the Milton hockey team.

Thibeault was determined to walk again even shortly after the accident. His father, Mike Thibeault, told NBC Boston last fall that while the odds were “very slim” given the nature of his injury, Jake simply said, “Well, I’m ready to go. to beat”.

After a tragic accident, the rising hockey star from Mass. Jake Thibeault is in therapy, but the 18-year-old said the support from his community is pushing him through.

Thibeault’s fighting spirit was not broken. It’s a spirit that was nurtured throughout his life playing hockey and living on a farm, his father said. And it shone on graduation day, where he promised himself he could walk to receive his diploma.

Thibeault’s recovery began at UMass Memorial Medical Center, then continued at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, followed by months of rehab at Journey Forward in Canton. Much of the Massachusetts hockey community, including Boston Bruin Matt Grzelcyk, followed suit.

Catherine J. Martinez