Massachusetts Senior Walks for Graduation After Being Paralyzed Months Prior
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
Nine months ago, Jake Thibeault was stretchered off the ice from a hockey game and brought to Worcester's UMass Memorial Medical Center after a scary collision into the boards, according to a WCVB article.
Thibeault needed screws and rods inserted into his body to stabilize his spinal cord after it was confirmed he broke two vertebrae in his back and suffered a brain bleed, according to a Fox Carolina article and WCVB.
Thibeault, a high school junior, was paralyzed from the waist down.
Not exactly knowing the future, the hockey community came around Milton Academy's junior...even the Boston Bruins.
With a long road ahead, Thibeault promised himself and his peers that he would walk across the graduation stage.
The goal was 9 months away on a stage at Milton Academy.
A hockey player at heart, Thibeault began to work - hard.
After his accident on Labor Day, it took only five months for Thibeault to begin crawling and pushing himself through grueling hours of physical therapy.
“They were just like, ‘Oh, try by yourself,’” Thibeault said to Fox Carolina regarding him trying to crawl. “And I made it two mats and I was like, ‘OK, holy cow.’”
After a few months of PT, Thibeault's goal was seeming further and further away.
He decided that if he could not walk across the stage, he would at least want to be vertical.
From crawling in agonizing pain to taking small, supported steps, last Friday, 6/10/2022, Jake Thibeault was able to accomplish his goal.
Thibeault completed 30 steps to get his high school degree, just like he planned.
"(It was) just an overwhelming feeling of being proud for Jake," said Mike Thibeault, his father to WCVB. "(I was) never more honored to be his father."