I don’t know that you have all heard of Jack Jablonski, but here in the Midwest (or more specifically, here in Minnesota) everyone knows his name. Most even know him by his nickname “Jabs.” He is currently a high school senior at a prestigious private Catholic school in a suburb of the Twin Cities metro area. Why am I writing about a high school senior during this week’s “People Who Inspire Me” post. Because Jack Jablonski inspires me. That’s why.
On one of the last days of 2011, Jack Jablonski was playing in a JV hockey game when he was checked into the boards from behind. And he didn’t get up. His spinal cord was damaged to the point where he was paralyzed from the neck down. No one was sure if he would ever move his limbs again, let alone walk.
Now that it’s over two years later, though, he has moved his limbs again! And his case has helped change the rules of hockey, making it a much more serious penalty to check another player from behind.[i]
He inspires me because he was always, always, always positive, even when the outlook was grim. I turn negative so quickly, and I’ve never truly been tested. Jack Jablonski inspires me because, at sixteen, he was a much stronger person than I ever could have been. He shows a grace and a maturity that is so rare. I can only hope that I acquire that kind of grace as I get older, because Lord knows I haven’t found it yet.
Thank you, Jabs, for being an inspiration to me, and to the State of Hockey.
[i] It might even be an ejection. Dad? Can you confirm?