By Shannon Corrigan
After a serious injury that cost him his ability to walk, 16-year-old Jack Jablonski and his family develop the mission to make hockey safer.
While playing hockey for his high school junior varsity team Dec. 30, Jablonski was checked from behind and thrown through the glass. The hit severed his spinal cord, and paralyzed him instantly.
"Every time you hear that crash into the boards, you just cringe and pray to God that child gets up," his mother, Leslie Jablonski, told the Washington Post. "This time, when it was mine who went down, I can't even explain how I felt. When he didn't get up, I knew something was wrong. When I went out onto the ice, and he said, 'Mom, I can't move,' I almost collapsed on top of him."
The injury has inspired the family to promote change to eliminate the unnecessary roughness from the game. The Jablonskis have asked hockey teams and players to take "Jack's Pledge," an online vow to help achieve their goals. With this, they hope to limit the hitting, and make it a more skillful sport, the Washington Post reports.
My Fox Twin Cities reports that according to Minnesota Hockey, by taking Jack's Pledge, players and coaches "commit to knowing the rules of hockey and playing by a strict interpretation of the rules. Players pledge to do their best to avoid penalties and situations that lead to dangerous plays and unsafe situations. Coaches commit to teaching the rules of hockey, promoting strategies that minimize risk to all players and emphasizing clean play and a safe environment."
The Minnesota Hockey Organization and the Minnesota State High School League are working to develop rules and increase punishments surrounding checking, in hopes of avoiding future injuries.