In the 10 years since suffering a broken neck from an on-ice incident, former high school hockey star-turned community role model Jack Jablonski has been experiencing an ongoing battle.
Not only with that of his day-to-day lifestyle as a recovering quadriplegic, but with something rooted deeper within. On Wednesday, the 26-year-old Minneapolis, MN. product released the following public statement on his social media feeds:
“To my friends, supporters and anyone who has come across my story; while this has been a long time coming, it has not been an easy journey to get to this point. Over the past 10+ years, adjusting to my “new normal and living life with paralysis has been difficult – both publicly a privately. Thankfully, I’ve been gifted with such tremendous support and you’ve all played such a substantial role in my journey.
But that is not the reason for this message.
Prior to my injury, I began to battle my true self internally. I went from confusion, to disbelief, to denial, to pushing it down, to now, acceptance and happiness. This process has been extremely tough and lonely. I am proud of who I am and I am ready to share this.
I am gay.
I couldn’t fully understand my footings and thoughts.
I was a multi-sport athlete, growing up surrounded by a straight, masculine world. I started to feel different and internalized everything. Once I was injured, my focus was on recovery, but the weight of my sexuality got heavier and heavier. I dealt with this on my own for a very long time and it ate me up. I am finally in a good place mentally and it’s time for me to move forward and live my life freely.
I am not a professional athlete, but I plan on spending my life and career in sports. Having seen the acceptance to the brave men and women that came before me. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done to pave the way in sports. You have helped people like myself become comfortable to be who we really are publicly: a gay man in the sports world.
I also want to thank my supportive family, my friends and the LA Kings organization that have accepted, embraced and helped me get to this point.
I hope that by sharing this part of me, I can help someone else out there avoid the pain and loneliness I went through these past 12 years.
To everyone that continues to help me overcome my paralysis and get me to where I am today, thank you.
I am still Jack; the man on a mission to beat paralysis, striving to have a career in hockey and working to make the world a better place.
I look forward to this next chapter and living my truth.
Since his injury on December 30, 2011, Jablonski has served as a role model within his local Minnesota community, while continuing to pursue his dreams of a career in hockey – more specifically within the NHL.
And believe it or not, he is actually doing so.
He graduated from the University of Southern California, all while creating the ‘Believe in Miracles’ foundation, to which over $3 million has been raised for research on debilitating spinal cord injuries. Jablonski is actually one of the subjects within a pointed upper-limb study. He also serves as a youth hockey coach in his spare time.
Oh right, he now has a full-time job with the Los Angeles Kings. Turning a communications internship into a Monday-Friday gig, Jablonski serves as a team representative and media personnel member, who assembles content at home games at Crypto.Com Arena each time the Kings suit up, despite his crippling disability.
Unable to use his hands, move his legs or grasp items with his fingers, Jablonski does continue to push forward with progress in re-gaining movements and bodily function as the weeks wear on. Living with a full-time caregiver, the now 26-year-old is enjoying his daily routines, while continuing to push for future mobility within his ever-recovering body.