Milton Academy teen paralyzed following spinal cord injury in hockey game

Family says they won’t give up hope for his full recovery

MILTON, Mass. — Mike Thibeault said it was the worst moment of his life to see his son Jake fall on the ice during a hockey game Saturday.

“It’s only been a couple nights, but it’s hard to close my eyes and not see that image of him like that,” Thibeault said. “He immediately seized, went into a five-minute seizure, nonverbal, it was horrific. It was by far the hardest part of my life.”

Thibeault said his son’s helmet split as he crashed into the boards. The 18-year-old Milton Academy student is now recovering at UMass Memorial Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury and is now paralyzed from the waist down.

“Little victories, brushing his teeth, taking drinks. He’s verbal, he’s engaging, he’s told the doctors, who said it’s unlikely he’ll never walk again, he feels differently; he says he’s ready to fight,” Thibeault said.

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Drew Thibeault said his brother is not just a hockey player, he’s an amazing person who’s now open to a new chapter as he recovers.

“So, whether it be trying to train for triathlon or do something out of the ordinary, just to keep him going, that’s kind of my role,” Drew Thibeault said.

Jake’s family said they’re not giving up hope that he’ll make a full recovery, and they’re thankful for all the support, especially from his school. His dad said the head of Milton Academy already visited Jake in the hospital.

“When he asked Jake how he’s doing, Jake said it’s just a bump in the road, which is a testament to his character,” Mike Thibeault said.

Friends of the family set up this GoFundMe for Jake to help with medical costs.