Paralyzed Boston-area teen drops puck at Bruins game

A Boston-area teen who was paralyzed in a tragic hockey accident was back on the ice Saturday to drop the ceremonial puck at the Bruins game against the New York Islanders.

The 17-year-old suffered a spinal cord injury during a high school hockey game on Jan. 23, 2010. The accident left the teen paralyzed from the chest down. The teen said he has made a lot of progress over the past two years and can now breathe on his own.

He also said that he has grown much stronger from working with Journey Forward, a nonprofit rehabilitation facility located in Canton. The teen said he will be graduating from high school this spring and is currently looking at potential colleges.

Although the teen was admittedly star struck at Saturday’s game, it was not the first time he had met and interacted with Bruins players. In fact, the Boston Bruins Foundation along with the TD Garden hosted a gala that raised money to buy the teen a new wheelchair that allows him mobility in an upright position.

The teen said that four words Bruins player Patrice Bergeron told him right after the accident have stuck with him every day since: “Be Patient, stay positive.” It’s this simple reminder and the support from his family, friends and community that have allowed him to come this far, he said.

Typically, when we think of a spinal cord injury we think of paraplegia or quadriplegia, like the injury this teen suffered. However, spinal cord injuries can cause other conditions and problems as well, including back pain, numbness in the extremities, gait changes, and bowel and bladder problems.

Any type of spinal cord injury can affect a person’s life greatly.

Source: WCVB TV Boston, “Paralyzed Hockey Player Returns To Ice,” March 3, 2012