Teen Paralyzed in Hockey Collision Starts Classes at Babson College: ‘Don't Ever Quit'

Jake Thibeault, who suffered spinal fractures and a brain bleed in a collision in a hockey tournament, has started his freshman year at Babson College

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No one needs to tell Jake Thibeault what is possible in just one year.

The Massachusetts teen athlete suffered spinal fractures and a brain bleed after a collision during a hockey tournament over Labor Day weekend last September.

"Don't ever quit, I live by the words don't quit," Thibeault said.

Thibeault was partially paralyzed and doctors feared he may never walk again. They were wrong.

This past June, Thibeault walked to receive his high school diploma at Milton Academy. Now, he is starting his freshman year at Babson College.

"When you are in the moment, you have that choice. I am going to make something out of this, and I still, every day, am trying to beat paralysis," he said.

Now on campus, Thibeault is working with the Babson hockey team. A few weeks before his injury, Thibeault met with head coach Jamie Rice.

After Thibeault's injury, Rice stayed in touch with the family, visiting him while he recovered at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

"He is an incredible young man," Rice said. "He is inspiring, he is humbling, he shows you what the human heart is capable of."

Thibeault says the last year has taught him to take nothing for granted as he continues to work hard on his rehabilitation.

"Eventually, I will be on my feet, and I will look every person in the eye and thank them, but it would take the rest of my life to thank the people who have helped me," he said.

Thibeault says he is always trying to make the most of this new challenge, hoping to inspire others along the way.

"Looking back at it, yeah, it sucks, and I would pay anything to be on the ice, upright, working out regular, running, walking, living the life I lived," he said. "Of course I would go back to that tomorrow, but I do know, it happened for a reason, and that reason is something great in my life."

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