Photo credit: Jack Jablonski’s Twitter: @Jabs_13
When most people think about a well-known individuals who are quadriplegic, they usually think of Christopher Reeves or Stephen Hawking or possibly even Curtis Mayfield. But for those of us in Minnesota, we also think about a hockey player named Jack Jablonski. And now, when people in California think about well-known individuals who are quadriplegic, they will be thinking about Jack Jablonski, too.
The Dream Job
Recently, 23 year old Jack Jablonski signed an NHL contract with the L.A. Kings, just eight years after he suffered a life changing accident that left him quadriplegic. While Jack won’t be hitting the ice donning a pair of hockey skates, he accepted a position as one of the team’s Content Coordinators, working in podcasting, radio and television.
Jack Jablonski’s Story
Jack Jablonski grew up not far from our facility in Minnesota, in fact the high school he attended and played hockey at, Benilde-St. Margaret is only a short twenty minute drive away. It was during his high school hockey career that Jack rose to local and national recognition. While playing in a hockey game during his sophomore year of school, on December 30, 2011, Jack was hit from behind and pushed head-first into the boards. This incident resulted in Jack breaking two of his vertebrae, severing his spinal cord, leaving him quadriplegic and ending his hockey career.
Since the injury, Jack has been in a wheelchair with very limited use of his arms and no use of his legs. His doctors advised him and his parents that he would likely never walk again and would likely never see any improvements. Despite this, Jack has worked tirelessly in physical therapy. He’s been able to activate muscles in his glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors and even posted a video of himself moving his toes at his own command last summer. Essentially, he has already defied the odds the doctors predicted for his life.
Jack also accomplished something in 2019 that he never thought he would do: graduate college. He left Minnesota and enrolled in the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles during the 2014-2015 school year. The logistics of living on a college campus and not being able to be independent was daunting for him, so much so that he couldn’t envision making it to graduation.
While he attended school at USC, he juggled his classes as well as an internship with the local professional hockey team, the L.A. Kings. It was this internship that put him in the position to take a larger role within the organization upon graduation.
The Bel13ve in Miracles Foundation
On top of physical therapy, navigating college and working for the L.A. Kings, Jack found the time to start the Bel13ve in Miracles Foundation. He, along with a board of volunteers making up a board of directors and a medical advisory team, work to make it possible to better the lives of individuals living with spinal cord injuries. Through fundraising events and private donations, the foundation is driven to advance medical research and innovative treatments that are achieving victories over paralysis.
What Jack Jablonski’s Story Means for Wheelchair Users
So what does Jack’s story mean for others? Jack works every day to ensure he’s doing everything he can to put an end to paralysis from spinal cord injuries. This includes his determination through physical therapy to keep his body in the best possible shape, so when technology and research get to a place where he could be treated or learn to walk again, he’ll be ready. Jack serves as inspiration for others living with spinal cord injuries, that when you put your mind to something, it can be accomplished. And also that a spinal cord injury shouldn’t keep anyone from becoming independent.
Paving the Way for the Future
At Rollx Vans, we love stories like Jack Jablonski’s story. They inspire us to reach as many people as we can, so we can help them lead more independent lives. Because at the end of the day, what gets us excited and keeps us passionate about the work that we do with handicapped vans, is helping people. At Rollx Vans, we truly believe that all wheelchair users should feel as independent as possible. If we can connect with, and do this for just one wheelchair user and their family, then we’ve done what we’ve set out to do.
At Rollx Vans, we want to be like Jack Jablonski and help our customers pave the way for a more independent future. If you are ready to learn more, give us a call or send us an email today. We will connect you with one of our experienced sales team members, so they can learn more about your struggles with independence and how our wheelchair conversion vans can help you towards a more independent future. What are you waiting for? We can’t wait to meet you!