High School Player Suffers "Jesse Martin Injury"

(above) Former DU player Jesse Martin is attempting to reach out to the Jablonski family
(above) Minnesota high school hockey player Jack Jablonski fractured two bones in his lower neck

Well-wishers crowded into Jack Jablonski's hospital room and lit up his Facebook and CaringBridge pages all weekend as the high school sophomore and his family awaited a prognosis on a paralyzing injury he suffered during a hockey game on Friday.

"It's a parent's worst nightmare," his father, Mike Jablonski of Minneapolis, said on Sunday in the pediatric intensive care unit at Hennepin County Medical Center. "He dropped and didn't move. Right then and there I knew that my son, that there was something seriously wrong."

Known as "Jabby" to his friends, the 16-year-old honors student, hockey forward and varsity tennis player at Benilde-St. Margaret's scored the first goal of what would be a victory for the junior varsity Red Knights against Wayzata during the Holiday Hockey Classic tournament at the St. Louis Park Recreation Center.

Jack's team was up by one goal 5 minutes and 48 seconds into the second period when he made a dash for the puck near the end boards with two Wayzata players in hot pursuit, said Chris McGowan, the Red Knights' JV coach.

McGowan said two players rammed Jablonski from behind, smashing him into the boards, and he collapsed motionless to the ice.

Jack is in critical condition with two fractured bones in his lower neck. He's unable to move his legs and has only slight movement in his hands and fingers, McGowan said.

Doctors suspect that Jack suffered a bruised spinal cord and won't speculate about his recovery until the swelling reduces, his parents said. Once that happens, surgeons expect to fuse the two broken vertebrae, they added.

Jack was in the offensive zone and was coming around the net when the two Wayzata players slammed into him, his father said. "It was just a very hard hit."

Leslie Jablonski said she feels awful for the other boys, at least one of whom knew Jack from youth leagues.

Although the Jablonskis say they have no hard feelings for the Wayzata team or its coaches, they worry that hockey coaches in general are "sending the wrong messages."

"Players are running at the other players even when they're totally defenseless," Mike Jablonski said.

Leslie Jablonski, who writes a blog called MyHockeyMama, agreed. "The checking seems to be a hot issue. This can be avoided," she said. "In two seconds, our lives just changed. All of our lives changed -- even theirs," she added, gesturing toward a group of visiting teens.

"We just want to make sure this doesn't happen again. And if they keep playing the game the way it is, there's going to be more attacks in situations like this."


dggoddard said...

Best wishes to Jack.

dusince59 said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with him.

vizoroo said...

Hopefully this young man will recupertate as well as Jesse did, Prayers are with Jack and his family.

miller said...

Absolutely our prayers are with Jack and his family. DG, if you can, please keep us updated with his condition.

dggoddard said...

You can follow the story on a website set up by his parents.


Supposedly Jack is having the bone fusion surgery today. We know that Jesse eventually elected not to have this procedure done and went to the other hospital in St Paul and to have the screws inserted.

vizoroo said...

Last night I tweeted Jesse Martin about Jack and he has already responded, that he was trying to get the jablonskis in touch with his surgeons at Regions.

Jesse is a class act.

Twister said...

Horrible story. Best wishes to Jack and his family.

old pio said...

Good luck, Jack. We're all pulling for you.

vizoroo said...

Surgery went well, but according to reports his spinal column was severed at the C 5 level. http://www.startribune.com/sports/preps/136697323.html

Miracles are possible! Positive thoughts for Jack and his family.

dggoddard said...

A statement from the hospital regarding the procedure - which fused together two fractured vertebrae in Jablonski's neck - is expected Thursday morning.

ayoungerdu said...

It's terrible to hear about these incidents from such a great sport. Thoughts and prayers go out to him and I hope he has a productive recovery.

du78 said...

Jacks' parent left this messager on his CaringBridge site last night. Keep him in your prayers.

Never Give Up

It is with a heavy heart that we write this entry tonight. Jack's surgery today to fuse his vertebrae was a success, but it also confirmed that his injury was horrific.

Jack has limited mobility and no movement in his lower body. As we feared, he will not be able to walk or skate. This news is devastating to Jack and everyone who loves him. Our hope and dream is that he will be able to prove this prognosis wrong.

Our priority is to help Jack accept and transition into his new life, a life that we did not plan, but one that we have to embrace. We have a mountain to climb, but with your support, we know that Jack's youth, strength and determination will help him make remarkable strides.

It's been a difficult day, but now we know what lies ahead. Words cannot express our gratitude for the global support that Jack has received. Keep your thoughts and prayers coming.

miller said...

I am not sure how the DU community goes about this, but I would like to send a card or banner to Jack, much like we did for Jesse. Any thoughts??

I would be glad to head this up.

achsdu17 said...

If LetsGoDU does something for Jack I'd like to help. Maybe I can help design a banner or something.

miller said...

I just ordered the banner from FastSigns and hopefully it will be ready tomorrow at lunch. I will run it by the Athletic office and the team will sign it. I have arranged for a table in the arena on Saturday night. Please get the word out, I want as many people to sign this as we can possibly get. I will get it sent out Monday morning.

We need to show our support of this young man.

old pio said...

This boy, and his family, have a long row to hoe. And even though his parents sound like they've got the sand to make it work, they and Jack are going to face some dark days ahead. Remember what the doctor said about Jesse's injury: "It's like winning the lottery twice?"

I'm proud that DU fans want to make some gesture of support to this boy and his family.

DU/CC Dad said...

Miller, I will be at the game on Saturday night and want to sign the banner. Will you be able to accept donations to offset your costs?


co_sports_girl said...

This is great to get a sign for the team to sign and the DU fans, thank you everyone for your prayers and support for Jack.

miller said...

Jeff, I will have the table setup around 5PM. Please spread the word, I want to fill up every space on the banner. I want to show this young man the support he has from the Pioneer community. You are welcome to help supplement the cost.

ayoungerdu said...

@ miller

Do you need any help manning the table or anything. I work at the Ritchie Center and I'm there at every game any way, so if you need anything just let me know.

miller said...

AyougerDU we welcome any help. We will probably setup the table by the DU grilling Society before the game and then in south lobby between periods and after the game. Please come by and sign the banner.