MILTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Community members are rallying around a Milton Academy student who has lost feeling from the waist down after an accident during an ice hockey game over the weekend.
Jake Thibeault just started his senior year at the school but was playing for his summer travel team when was hurt after a collision in a hockey game. He suffered a spinal cord injury and a small brain bleed, and right now can’t move his lower extremities, family members said.
“Ultimately it’s everyone’s worst nightmare,” said family friend Kevin Lazotte.
Jake is being treated at UMass Medical Canter, and his best friend Maddox Lizotte said he just visited family members there. Maddox Lizotte said he was hopeful Jake will recover.
“It’s tough [with] everything we’ve been through together … we’ve just got to cherish memories we’ve had and know deep down we’re going to make many more,” Maddox said. “Whether the kid can walk or not, he’s going to fight through this. I’m looking forward to seeing him again.”
“He’s the hardest-working kid, whether it’s at his job, whether it’s at the gym, whether it’s at school, he’s worked for everything he’s got,” Kevin Lazotte said. “Jake is going to do great things in this world, even if hockey is taken away from him …… he’s going to do other things that are absolutely unbelievable.”
As he recovers, friends have set up a GoFundMe page for Jake that has raised more than $250,000. Maddox said the donations reflect what Jake means to not just friends, but people who don’t even know him.
“Some people … may not even have a connection to Jake, but the impact he’s had on the Milton community, the hockey community, the Fitchburg community where he’s from, it’s amazing,” Maddox said.
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