Paralyzed hockey player wiggles toes for first time in 7 years

MINNEAPOLIS (WSVN) — A paralyzed hockey player in Minnesota is celebrating a small but incredibly significant victory — he was able to wiggle his toes nearly seven years after his devastating accident.

Fox News reports Jack Jablonski was 16 years old when he suffered a devastating spinal cord injury while playing hockey. The high school sophomore was checked head-first into boards and broke his neck during a junior varsity game in 2011.

Doctors told him he was paralyzed from the chest down and would never walk again. Years of physical therapy still left him unable to move his lower body, but that changed on the Fourth of July.

Jablonski said he was sitting on his deck with his feet elevated to prevent swelling, and decided he would attempt to make his toes move.

“I started with the left foot and had no luck. Then tried the right. As I was trying to curl my toes down, the outside three toes would twitch and flicker as I would attempt to do it,” Jablonski told Fox News.

He recorded a 20-second clip of his toes and posted the video to Twitter on Monday with the caption, “Moving my toes on my own on my command.”

He says doctors told him his spinal cord was “completely severed” after the accident, but he feels like this shows that might not be the case.

“I’ve always believed that I’ll walk again,” he said. “But to actually see it happen is what makes it so special.”

Jablonski says he now wants to get other medical opinions, and is seeing progress from doing three-and-a-half hour sessions of physical therapy three days a week.

“With the progress we’re seeing in the medical and scientific world it gives me hope to keep working hard in physical therapy and keep trying to prove the doctors wrong,” he said.

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